Home » Budget Industry » Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program


Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program

The following is the July 31, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report:

The Navy in 2017 initiated a new program, called the FFG(X) program, to build a class of 20 guided-missile frigates (FFGs). The Navy wants to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020, the second in FY2021, and the remaining 18 at a rate of two per year in FY2022-FY2030. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests $134.8 million in research and development funding for the program.

Although the Navy has not yet determined the design of the FFG(X), given the capabilities that the Navy’s wants the FFG(X) to have, the ship will likely be larger in terms of displacement, more heavily armed, and more expensive to procure than the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs). The Navy envisages developing no new technologies or systems for the FFG(X)—the ship is to use systems and technologies that already exist or are already being developed for use in other programs.

The Navy’s desire to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020 does not allow enough time to develop a completely new design (i.e., a clean-sheet design) for the FFG(X). Consequently, the Navy intends to build the FFG(X) to a modified version of an existing ship design—an approach called the parent-design approach. The parent design could be a U.S. ship design or a foreign ship design. The Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition to select the builder of the FFG(X). Consistent with U.S. law, the ship is to be built in a U.S. shipyard, even if it is based on a foreign design. Multiple industry teams are reportedly competing for the program. Given the currently envisaged procurement rate of two ships per year, the Navy envisages using a single builder to build the ships.

The FFG(X) program presents several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2019 funding request for the program;
  • whether the Navy has accurately identified the capability gaps and mission needs to be addressed by the program;
  • whether procuring a new class of FFGs is the best or most promising general approach for addressing the identified capability gaps and mission needs;
  • whether the Navy has chosen the appropriate amount of growth margin to incorporate into the FFG(X) design;
  • the Navy’s intent to use a parent-design approach for the program rather than develop an entirely new (i.e., clean-sheet) design for the ship;
  • the Navy’s plan to end procurement of LCSs in FY2019 and shift to procurement of FFG(X)s starting in FY2020;
  • whether the initiation of the FFG(X) program has any implications for required numbers or capabilities of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers.

  • Bubblehead

    Predicted order of likelyhood to win:
    1) FREMM – Checks all boxes right off the bat. Room for growth. Debatable highest level of stealth of contestants. Unlike all the other contestants except Navantia, it is the only example with floating hulls in the water which minimizes risk. This is the USN #1 priority. Its only shortcoming is what would happen to US LCS shipyards which currently produce worthless aluminum coffins.

    2) NSC derivative. Plus’s include: highlly successful in USCG & it is an American design. Being American design cannot be overlooked in importance. It also,m unlike every other hull except maybe Navantia, designed to over 90% USN survivability standards. This importance is often overlooked and underestimated. But the USN places very high standards on survivability. It isn’t very stealthy. Not very flashy. But it is a very solid ship. If an NSC is costing about $700 million, not sure how the USN can fit it into its FFGX budget.

    3 & 4) tie between LM Feedom LCS upgrade & Navantia F100 derivative. The Spanish ship has a lot going for it in specs. Highly successful proven design. Very similar to AB’s which is very important. Survivable. 32 VLS cells, twice as many as most competitors. And most importantly already uses SPY1 & AEGIS. This might be viewed as the least risky design. Negatives: can it fit in budget and not stealthy.

    The LM only plus is really it is American designed and would possibly save an American shipyard from going bankrupt. It is also very stealthy. Its almost a complete redesign though of Freedom hull so does not match USN #1 requirement of hulls in water to minimize risk.

    5) Austal has no chance. That LCS hull is a deathtrap and has continually suffered from engineering problems. Its only claim to fame is keeping a shipyard in business not providing the USN and crew a worthy ship.

    • NavySubNuke

      Agreed – both FREMM and NSC would be excellent Frigates for the US Navy.
      The only reason to even consider an LCS variant is politics and a hot production line. But having a hot production line pumping out mud pies doesn’t really help anyone.
      I just hope the Navy is able to overcome the political angle and make the right decision on FFG(X) rather than just caving to the political angle and making the easy decision.
      The last thing the fleet needs is another failed LCS variant hogging up crews, shipyard space, and repair part funding.

      • Kypros

        Yup, pretty much the only reason to choose an LCS variant is as a “make work” project for one of the two yards. The US taxpayer and US security deserve better than that.

      • Rocco

        They will cave!

        • PolicyWonk

          To which side: the dark side of the PEO LCS/USC, Austal, and LockMart? Or the side of light, reason, capability, and value?

          That is the question…

          • Rocco

            Matter of convenience

    • Lazarus

      Aluminum is not a “deathtrap.” This myth seems to have originated during the Falklands War, yet no RN ship had aluminum issues. A UK Type 21 frigate had some aluminum ladder rungs give way in a main space fire in the late 1970’s and as a result all were replaced with steel ladders. The only aluminum fire/melting issue on record is that of USS Belknap, but then again, where else will thousands of gallons of JP4 pour down on a ship’s superstructure and ignite other than in a collision with a CV? Not exactly an outcome of combat conditions.
      I challenge you to provide a verifiable instance of aluminum construction contributing to excess damage or loss in combat.
      The real issue here is cost more than anything else. Look for the best cost value ship to win.
      Picking one of the Euro DDG-lite ships will just show that the USN has zero desire for any smaller combatant. That ship FREMM or Navantia, will just get used as another DDG and the whole idea of building a “low end” combatant utterly terminated. As Wayne Hughes has said, the USN cannot be an all-high end navy and must build a number of smaller, less survivable ships with little room for growth and short lifespans.

      • NavySubNuke

        The issues with Aluminum aren’t just because of fire — the fact that it crack so much easier than steel even without a fire being involved is.
        From Navy Times “Tug collides with LCS Montgomery, cracks the hull” Oct 2016
        “The littoral combat ship Montgomery can’t seem to catch a break.
        Less than three weeks since a pair of engineering casualties sent the trimaran into port for repairs, Montgomery took a hard knock from a tug as it sortied from Mayport, Florida ahead of the Hurricane Matthew.
        The Tuesday collision opened up a foot-long crack amidships along a weld seam, about three feet above the waterline, according to a report obtained by Navy Times. The crack was letting in about a gallon of water every three minutes until sailors plugged the quarter-inch crack with wedges, the report said.”

        Then again later in Oct:
        The following is the complete Oct. 31, 2016 statement from U.S. 3rd Fleet
        On Oct. 29 USS Montgomery (LCS-8) sustained damage to her hull while transiting Southbound through the Gatun and Pedro Miguel locks of the Panama Canal. Under control of the local Panama Canal Pilot, the ship impacted the center lock wall and sustained an 18-inch-long crack between her port quarter and transom plates. The crack is located 8-10 feet above the waterline and poses no water intrusion or stability risk.
        The ship has continued her transit as scheduled, has now exited the Panama Canal and is expected to arrive at her new homeport of San Diego next month.

        The 2014 Drone hit on USS Chancellorsville, and the tens of millions in damage it caused, are another great example of the issues with Aluminum.

        This is of course a well known, documented and understood problem. From New York Times, 1987 Titled: “NAVY REVERTING TO STEEL IN SHIPBUILDING AFTER CRACKS IN ALUMINUM”
        “The Navy, reversing a trend that began after World War II, is going back to building ships with steel rather than aluminum superstructures, in part because the lighter metal was found to crack, officers say.
        Rear Adm. Myron Ricketts, who is in charge of design and engineering for the Naval Sea Systems Command, said the Navy had spent billions of dollars repairing cracks in aluminum superstructures, the part of a ship above the hull that houses the electronics and command sections in most postwar ships.
        ”Aluminum cracks at a much lower stress than steel,” Admiral Ricketts said. ”It doesn’t have the inherent strength. And significantly more maintenance is required with aluminum than steel.”

        • So a possibly greater susceptibility to cracking is evidence that aluminum ships are literal deathtraps? While it is true that aluminum will have a shorter useful service life because of fatigue issues, that’s not really what the LCS critics are saying.

          • NavySubNuke

            I don’t really buy the argument that one LCS is more of a death trap then the other because it is made of aluminum. I personally think both are death traps in any kind of combat situation with anything except for a bunch of very lightly armed and unarmored small boats but that is because of their near total lack of offensive or defensive armament.
            But my concerns, specifically towards aluminum are that if bumping a tug boat gives you hole big enough your putting wedges in to stem the flow of water — what happens if you have a real collision? How many of the crew are going to make it if an LCS-even gets speared in the middle of the night as has happened recently?

          • Lazarus

            The problem is that the Navy cannot afford in any numbers the “uber-frigate” that many of you seem to think is needed. The USN cannot afford a mass of $1b+ frigates; whether built to a US design or a foreign one. LCS may have been commissioned with a corvette armament, but like the DD 963 class it has room for more sensors and weapon systems.

          • Kypros

            True, but the Navy can afford, sturdy, reliable ships, which can give decades of service. I’d imagine the FFGs will be used hard.

          • NavySubNuke

            What the Nation really can’t afford is to lose a war.
            Second to that is actually needing to fight a war in the first place because deterrence has failed.
            The Navy can go a long way towards both by building ships that are reliable and capable rather than building more LCS. That has nothing to do with wanting or desiring an uber frigate so please save your inaccurate talking points and hyperbole for others.
            Now, lets unpack this notion that the Navy “can’t afford” a $1+B frigate. Right now the Navy is planning on buying 20 FFG(X) with follow-on ships cost $950M (FY18). So 19x950M = $18B.
            If follow-on FFG(x) actually cost $1.2B (FY18) 19 follow-on ships would cost $22.8B. Or if we cap the buy at $18B we end up buying 15 ships instead of 19.
            Keep in mind thos costs are spread over FY21 – FY30 — are you really telling me that the Navy “can’t afford” an extra $500M per year for 9 years (and 1 year of an extra $250M)? Or do you really think the Navy would be better off with 19 inadequate and unreliable ships instead of 15 capable and reliable ships? I find either of those a little hard to believe.

          • Lazarus

            The Navy is frankly better off with more low end ships that can engage in multiple missions to free up the DDG Force for high end combat. Not every ship need be as capable as a DDG. I also don’t think you understand tbe financial costs of the fleet you think tbe Navy should have.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            A ship has to actually deploy to fulfill even low-end missions. Zero LCS deployments this year.

          • Lazarus

            Not enough trained crews for multiple rotations in multiple ships. The Navy has deployed one LCS already. It now needs to deploy multiple ships and the crews for all of those are not yet ready.
            As usual, you are making accusations that show your ignorance of how the surface force works or how it intends to operate LCS. Why don’t you stick to the MPA stuff you know?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            A fact is not an accusation. There are zero LCS deployments planned for this fiscal year.

            I will in turn ask you to stick to your area of expertise – which is apparently LCS salesmanship.

          • PolicyWonk

            The first LCS was commissioned 10 YEARS ago. It deployed one LCS that broke down in the pacific ocean, and exhausted the crew who couldn’t keep up with the maintenance (and that included the mission package crew and army of contractors pitching in) tasks, for a ship that was supposed to have a significantly reduced crew compliment (~40 originally, which has since been cranked up to 70).

            The OMB severely scorched LCS in this limited, sad tale of woe, misfortune, and wasted taxpayer funds.

            At this rate, but the time the crews are adequately trained (you, like the USN, take the cowards way out by blaming the crews), and mission packages ready, the LCS fleet will be either in midlife upgrades, or otherwise have their turn at the breakers already scheduled.

            We could save the taxpayers a lot of time and money by sailing them straight to the breakers after commissioning – just skip the post-delivery yard work and mission package altogether (thereby saving the taxpayers over $200M per sea-frame). The ROI would likely improve, at current rates.

          • airider

            I think I’d turn that argument around actually…the Navy cannot afford to squander any more money on the current ships of the LCS class.

          • PolicyWonk

            The worst waste of taxpayer funds is on the purchase of monstrously overpriced, useless pier queens that lack firepower, protection, reliability, and room for growth.

            The proprietary maintenance requirements make it insanely expensive to keep up, and none of this counts the fact that neither version of the so-called “littoral combat ship” were designed to “venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

            Hence – even if these ships fixed all of their reliability problems, and you armed them to the teeth – they still aren’t constructed to FIGHT.

            Then all one has to do is review the ships being built in peer (or near-peer) navies (of equal, let alone half the tonnage), to quickly realize that in a real fight, LCS will quickly assume new duties as artificial reefs.

            Its hard enough to afford purchasing of real war-fighting assets; in the case with LCS, we’re using hard-earned taxpayer dollars to buy very expensive liabilities.

          • Lazarus

            Again, you are repeating fallacies that are not true.

          • DaSaint

            Are there fallacies that are true??

          • Lazarus

            “Overpriced” (its not and in fact LCS has remained under a Congressional cost cap since 2011.) “Pier Queen” (no, even those LCS in home waters are underway doing training and certification, conducting CONUS port visits, etc.) “Not well armed” (Perhaps not in CONUS waters as built, but Coronado deployed with 4 harpoons and future units deployed will have some ASCM plus hellfire. Don’t the helicopters and UAV’s that have deployed with LCS count as well?)
            Policy wonk really has no idea of how navies operate or plan to fight and his/her diatribes contribute little to the conversation.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            RE: Overpriced. Certainly overpriced compared to the original estimates – which were used to justify the program in the first place.

            RE: Pier queen. Are we now buying Jeffersonian era gunboats to guard the coast? I thought the idea of LCS was to be forward deployed.

            RE: Not well armed. Four Harpoons, and some Hellfires are hardly much offensive armament for a 3,500 ton vessel. There are PRC vessels in PACOM that are <10% the displacement and carry 8x ASCMs.

            And yes: ship-to-ship comparisons are important. Particularly when LCS seems to be deploying (when it actually deploys) as a solo.

            RE: helicopters. I will agree that the LCS has significant aviation capabilites. That's about the only thing that the LCS "imagineers" seem to have gotten right.

          • Curtis Conway

            Not to mention unique logistical support train and Training requirements.

          • DaSaint

            Here, I disagree. I do think the Navy can afford a $1B FFG. The question is whose?

          • Lazarus

            The question is really how many of those over-priced, over-electronically dense ships can the US afford and the answer is not enough for what is needed in terms of low end, small combatants.

          • DaSaint

            That’s a rather loosely subjective opinion. An LCS is basically $700M. A NSC is almost $800M. I asked you on another question, which LCS do you think will be selected and why. Feel free to answer here as well or instead.

            But a $1B or a $1.2B FFG which gives true open-ocean warfighting capability, including ASW, EW, etc. is something the nation will afford. And don’t think for a minute that they may not eventually replace some of the Flight I Burkes.

            2 FFG per year will be built, The question is which design.

          • Curtis Conway

            Alfred Thayer Mahan thought different, and the economy of the United States (and the Free World) depend upon it. There are ways to save money and sending a full CSG everytime a dictator sneezes isn’t the answer. The ESG can now handle it, particularly if it has a Lightning Carrier, escorted by less expensive FFG(X).

          • Lazarus

            Mahan lived in a world before the airplane and the submarine were significant weapons. The US also had a very different strategic situation; not being the guardian of free trade since the RN had that role in Mahan’s time,

          • Curtis Conway

            You are correct. The situation HAS changed, and all in our direction. Our economy is more dependent on trade today that it ever was in Mahan’s day. Our US Navy shoulders the majority of the load of keeping the sea lines open, so what is your point?

          • DaSaint

            The Spruance class received their fair share of criticism when they entered service too. I know our memories are short, but they were big for DDs, boxy, and had aluminum superstructure also to save weight.

            They introduced A LOT of new gear: the LM2500 gas turbines, which lots of folks scoffed at, 2 large hangars, what became a great hull-mounted sonar, a good long-range air search radar.

            The volume and growth margins they had allowed them to develop nicely, both as a DD class, as well as a DDG variant ( I LOVED the Kidds!), and of course as the Tico CGs.

            It remains to be seen if the LCS classes can also develop to overcome their early flaws and teething issues. We hope they can, if for no other reason than that lives depend on it, and we also need the numbers they provide for low-intensity presence missions.

          • Lazarus

            Long range air search radar on DD 963? SPS 40? Well, maybe. Agree no one remembers the problems of past classes. FF 1052’s were hated and labled by one Proceedings article as the worst ships ever procured for the USN. The FFG 7’s were “unsurvivable,” had their “76mm pop gun” in the wrong place and the useless “Helen Keller” sonar. You had to “walk a mile” to find a weapon system on DD 963, the CG 47’s were “dangerously top heavy” and had the “untested and unreliable” AEGIS system. USS Arleigh Burke was called “Always Broke.”

          • DaSaint

            I was thinking SPS-49, but it wasn’t on the Spruances. SMH!
            Yes, we forget the teething issues, but they get worked out eventually, because they have to be. We all eagerly await the same for LCS – because they have to be. That said, it’s clear the Navy wants to move on to something more capabe.

          • DaSaint

            If a vessel 1/3 the tonnage of a 9,000 ton Burke gets ‘speared in the middle of the night as has happened recently’, I would posit that not much would remain of that vessel, whether it was aluminum, steel, or titanium.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I actually asked Bob Work that very question about four years ago. It didn’t seem as if he’d ever considered how LCS might fare in a collision.

          • Lazarus

            Few ships fair well in collisions if facing the bow of another vessel. Given its length and displacement, LCS would probably fair no better than did USS Frank E Evans after being cut in half by the Australian carrier HMAS Melbourne. That said, the USN did not decommission all of the FRAM DD’s because Evans was fatally damaged in a collision.

        • Lazarus

          Ever been on a small combatant hit hard by a tug? Dents, cracks and holes happen, but again, since its LCS (and not another class) its front page news.

          LCS is a small surface combatant; not a DDG or a cruiser. It can afford to be built of lighter materials. Aluminum is much more corrosion-resistant than steel. Steel corroded at a rate of 120 micrometer per year, while in a similar study, aluminium corroded at a rate of only 1 micrometer per year. Metallurgy in general has come a long way since 1987 and newer aluminum alloys are much stronger than those of the 1970’s.

          • PolicyWonk

            The unfortunate bottom line is that LCS was not designed to FIGHT.

            That is according to former CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

          • Lazarus

            Sigh, you keep pushing that statement. Here is what Greenert said,

            “These are not large surface combatants that are going to sail into the South China Sea and challenge the Chinese military; that’s not what they’re made for,” Greenert said of the LCS class. Even the LCS contingent soon to start operating out of Singapore will focus on exercises, port visits, humanitarian assistance, and counter-piracy operations with Southeast Asian partners — taking that burden off the more war-worthy carrier, cruisers, and destroyers based in Japan.


            I would submit that no US ship or even a 3 carrier battle force has any business sailing into the SCS and trying to engage the vast PRC missile “fort” on day one of a war.

          • PolicyWonk

            Sigh – you are submitting BRAVO SIERRA, because that is definitely NOT the statement he made in the interview on Breaking Defense.

            Kindly refrain from pretending you have a clue w/r/t to my postings simply because you don’t agree with them – and do NOT put words into my mouth (or postings).

            Given the heavily armed naval assets now be built by both Russia and the Chinese in the same relative size class (and substantially smaller), the LCS fleet would be more accurately designated USNS, and as such not counted among war-fighting assets (where they have ZERO business anyway).

            All that will happen to LCS if one has the grave misfortune to be attacked by a peer (or near-peer) adversary, is that a lot of American patriots will be killed as the ship quickly becomes an artificial reef.

            Note that the quote you intentionally misrepresent as the basis for extrapolation on my part (yet another BLATANT LIE we can all attribute to you), describes the LCS fleet as being fundamentally unworthy of battle. That word “soon” in reference to what LCS would supposedly be doing was issued a number of years ago, as he hasn’t been CNO since he retired in 2015. At this time, we barely have LCS’s operating out of the USA, let alone Singapore or anywhere else: they keep getting built and commissioned – and they keep delivering no value whatsoever to the taxpayer – at maximum cost.

          • Lazarus

            I rest my case.

          • PolicyWonk

            You have no case. This is why the rest of us are astonished that you continue to embarrass yourself on these pages, in the face of the staggering quantity of evidence that bluntly refutes your opinion.

          • Lazarus

            It was one person (OMB) and a Trump person as well. I thought you did not like the Trump admin policy wonk?

          • PolicyWonk

            You’re “case” just took another beating, this time from the White House. Go and read the latest on Defense News: “The littoral combat ship program again draws White House ire”.

            The USN apparently doesn’t want any more LCS, despite the constant cheerleading from the cult of “Duane-o-Laz”.

            Case closed!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Umm, help me here, but isn’t the good admiral admitting that they weren’t even built to do combat missions? ‘Port visits, humanitarian assistance, counter-piracy’ do not comprise real ‘war fighting’. Also, every time I have personally mentioned this very thing that the admiral says, that these ships were built to FREE UP MORE CAPABLE SHIPS TO DO THE REAL FIGHTING, the LCS shilling zealots have a conniption fit, and point to things like the ANTI-TANK missiles the LCS sports as examples of how ‘lethal they are’..Why is that?

          • Curtis Conway

            I get a kick out of every time they mention the anti-tank missile on the US Navy Small Surface Combatant ? ! . . . then they play the film AGAIN of it sinking these little boats.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            My inbox tells me that Duane replied to my post and called me a liar, but alas his posting isn’t here now. Pity.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            There is no ‘Reply’ function to respond to Duane’s postings. I have to assume he did that. Man, what a coward. Nothing confirms that you are right more than being shut off those by those who cannot refute you. I reckon I should be proud. This is an open admission by DUANE that he cannot ‘hang’ with the big dogs.

          • Rocco

            Agreed

          • PolicyWonk

            Welcome to the club!

            With Duane-o-Laz, you’re either a troll, a malicious liar, patently stupid, or otherwise (my personal favorite), a “ship hater”.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I know. I’ve been rolling my eyes at his posts since I first got on these boards. He has the personality of a dead cactus plant. What he hates today he loves tomorrow. One day I might post about my first encounter with him. I’ve never encountered anyone so unable to follow a conversation or what a discussion is about!

          • PolicyWonk

            The LCS program just took another beating. Google “The littoral combat ship program again draws White House ire” (Defense News). Not a favorable article for the “Duane-o-Laz”…

          • Lazarus

            One guy (Mulvaney) and not a Navy guy. I thought you could not stand the Trump admin there policy wonk. Are you just embracing one member because he did not like LCS?

          • PolicyWonk

            When the most corrupt/dishonest/incompetent administration in memory points at the LCS program is declares it all but useless (even declaring the USN doesn’t want them), that’s an indication that as far as they are concerned, the LCS program is even too blatant for THEM.

            How far on the side of rotten does a program have to go (even as a corporate welfare program) before you give it up? Thats the real question.

          • Lazarus

            Would you assign destroyers to perform the roles identified for a battleship or cruiser? Of course not and CNO Greenert was saying them same thing about LCS. Assign ships to appropriate roles within the USN force structure.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Well, unfortunately, DDs ARE doing the job of BBs because there are NO BBs any more. Burke class DDs ARE doing the job of cruisers! Now, building hideously expensive and under armed ships to free up destroyers and cruisers from doing tasks that patrol boats and other small craft should be doing doesn’t seem to be a competent expenditure of money. Greenert at least admitted that they aren’t for combating anything other than pirates and drug runners. Recent efforts to ‘up-gun’ them by adding ASMs are all AFTER THE FACT. They are in response to the undeniable truth about them being so expensive while offering no real offensive capability. heck, even their anti-TANK missiles are part of that afterthought. And while you and yours have such heartburn over all this, I will remind you(and yours) that the admiral’s OWN words are the basis for the legit criticisms directed at the program. John McCain is loved by you when he takes on Trump, but his calls to curtail this boondoggle only brings about outrage from you. But none the less his words resonate.

          • PolicyWonk

            What a glorious and simplistic answer! I recall the Duano-o-Laz claim of LCS being the most powerful, most best-est, most IBS-inducing fighting ship on the planet BAR NONE.

            So OF COURSE the mighty LCS could be sent on missions that would cause a battleship commander lose control of his bowels!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Below, Duane whines (again) about quoting Admiral Greenert in his entirety. Well, besides providing most of that above Lazarus, which is quite clear about the LCS not having any real combat capability, I think the rest of what he said is relevant..

            “These are not large surface combatants that are going to sail into
            the South China Sea and challenge the Chinese military; that’s not what
            they’re made for,” Greenert said of the LCS class. Even the LCS contingent soon to start operating out of Singapore will focus on exercises, port visits, humanitarian assistance, and counter-piracy operations with Southeast Asian partners — taking that burden off the more war-worthy carrier, cruisers, and destroyers based in Japan.

            Worldwide, said Greenert, “Littoral Combat Ships will tend to displace amphibious ships and destroyers in Africa and South America. That will free up surface combatants, more high-end ships,” for East Asia.

            “I don’t worry per se about its survivability where I would intend to
            send it,” Greenert said of the LCS. “You won’t send it into an
            anti-access area.”

            That is from an article in the breakingdefense dot com site dated April 12, 2012. I’m going to provide some things the article’s author says about Admiral Greenert’s comments. “So while the LCS will be the Navy’s most numerous future class, it won’t be much of a warfighter. No less an authority than the Pentagon’s independent Director of Operational Test & Evaluation has officially
            warned that “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.”

            That’s despite the Navy having significantly toughened survivability
            standards in the middle of building the first two vessels, retrofitting
            improvements at a major cost in time and money. All that work simply
            brought the LCS up from commercial survivability standards to what the
            Navy calls “Level I,” equivalent to existing minesweepers, patrol boats,
            and supply ships, which are expected to last long enough for their crew
            to get out alive if the ship is damaged but not to keep on fighting
            after they take a hit. Destroyers and carriers, by contrast, are Level
            III.”

            When ALL of his comments are included, it appears to be pretty damning, and that despite his best efforts to put his best foot forward..

          • PolicyWonk

            Even worse, while PEO LCS used the excuse that LCS’s dramatic price increases were due to the upgrading of the LCS sea-frames to the level 1 standard (while a-building on the slipways, no less), it was subsequently reported in Defense Industry Daily, that no version of LCS, past, present, or future, will ever meet the Level 1 standard.

            When I posted this discovery on Breaking Defense, the editor (Sydney) immediately wrote me asking for a link because he couldn’t find it. I (being a giving kinda guy) happily sent it right on over. In short, the evidence strongly suggests PEO LCS deliberately misled (or blatantly defrauded) the HoR’s (and taxpayers) to get continued funding, knowing full well they were misrepresenting the facts.

            Also, if all Greenert was trying to do was have a low end ship that could patrol highly permissible regions around Africa and South America, they certainly didn’t need to specify a 50-knot requirement, which dramatically increased the cost and complexity for a ship that was never intended to fight. They would’ve been vastly better off to build mostly unarmed (or very lightly) ships to the Level-2 standard, with standard mountings, etc., to be quickly upgraded in the event circumstances changed.

            At $900M per sea-frame (adding up to a $36B program), we have a fleet of unreliable, and monstrously expensive utility boats, incapable of entering the littorals with the intention of engaging in combat, with any hope of prevailing (or surviving). Even the designation, “littoral combat ship” is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the cold, hard facts, when it was never intended to conduct that kind of mission.

            Cheers.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            It is my belief that this program has become the proverbial “Too big to fail”, because of the incredible amount of money that has been sunk (pun not intended) into it. I have faith in the sailors manning them. I do think some number of them would make good platforms for the Coast Guard, but they might not want all the headaches that so far comes with them.

          • Lazarus

            You do realize that LCS has been under a Congressionally mandated cost cap since 2011 and has remained such without any sanction or criticism by the legislative branch?
            I don’t think you understand warship levels of survivability any more than someone who plays video games. I suggest that you read the Navy’s survivability instruction OPNAVINST 9070.1B before making claims of expertise.

          • Lazarus

            You don’t send any one ship into an anti-access area; not event a DDG or CG.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Ummm, Laz, ‘they’ aren’t going to send ANY NUMBER of your beloved LCS into one, period.

          • jetcal1

            Laz,
            Is it reasonable to expect less tug damage over the lifetime of the class as it appears to spend more time moored than getting underway?

          • Rocco

            Aluminum stretches!!

      • Bubblehead

        When molten aluminum comes in contact with water, it causes an explosion. You want an example, the World Trade Center.

        The USN is begging for hulls night and day to reach 355. If the LCS could do half of what it was supposed to do, the USN would not be begging Congress to stop funding more LCS. Yes, it really is that simple. It really is some simple common sense.

        • Lazarus

          That is not a shipboard example. Maybe you sub people should limit your comments to submarine/ASW articles.

          • Bubblehead

            Consider this a ASW article then since this is what will happen when a sub ASCM hits the aluminum on an LCS. There will be fires, the fires will cause molten aluminum, the molten aluminum will definitely come in contact with water, which will definitely cause side explosions.

            Even the USN in a time of desperate need of more hulls was begging Congress for no more LCS hulls. Hummmm, why could that be? There is only one possible answer and you know what it is. You just can’t admit you are wrong.

          • Lazarus

            Look at the case of the ex-USNS Swift when hit by a Chinese-made C-802 in 2016. There were fires and severe deforming of the aluminum hull but the ship remained afloat. That vessel too was just a merchant with a crew of less than 15 and zero damage control equipment. An LCS 2 variant would also suffer severe damage but would also likely remain afloat and could later be salvaged.
            It was a rare case in WW2 that destroyer-sized ships (less than 3500 tons) suffered major weapon hits (torpedo, large bomb, mine) and just steamed away on their own power.

        • DaSaint

          Um, the WTC was a steel framed structure. The steel was then sprayed with a fire-retardant to provide the requied 2-hour rating. Columns were then encased with rated sheet rock and other materials.

          The WTC didn’t explode. It collapsed due to the high heat caused by the burning aviation fuel from the aircraft that crashed into it PLUS the elimination of scores of vertical columns and associated beams making up the structural framework, not to mention the compounding weight of concrete slabs once they started to give way.

          OK?

          • Bubblehead

            The aircraft was aluminum. The jet fuel mixed with molten aluminum and the water from the sprinkler system doomed the WTC. The WTC probably would have survived without the molten aluminum. The water from the sprinkler system actually fed the fire bc ot the molten aluminum. Look at videos and you can actually see it.

          • DaSaint

            The loss of structural integrity doomed the WTC. Simply put, too many columns were destroyed from the initial impact. The fire and resultant damage took out the rest on the floors impacted.

      • Ed L

        Remember the Belknap Class Cruisers and the aluminum superstructures. After the 1975 Collision between the JFK and the Belknap the Navy looked long and hard about stopping the use of in building a superstructure

        • Lazarus

          The Belknap incident was a rare one and should be discarded in terms of analysis. How often do thousands of gallons of jet fuel pour down the stacks of a ship?

      • Robbie Roberts

        Aluminum gets a bad rep because its associated with tragic outcomes. Those outcomes are primarily the result of weak construction that lead to the use of aluminum because of its superior structural strength under normal conditions. The question that has to be raised about major aluminum structures is not the choice of material but whether too much is being attempted on too small a ship, and that for the very small cost of a larger hull not only can aluminum with roughly a third of the heat tolerance be avoided but there is more room to efficiently install the equipment that is deemed necessary. As is often the case, arguments are based on absolute positions when the issue is one of scale. Not a deathtrap, but still a compromised choice.

        • Lazarus

          What “tragic” outcomes? There are none. This is another naval myth not backed up with evidence.

          • Robbie Roberts

            The fire on the Belknap, the ships hit by Exocets in the Falklands War, the whole debacle of the M113 and similar vehicles in multiple wars, when there is a large loss of life and major losses of ships and vehicles, generally the term tragic applies, and they all can be traced to the use of aluminum to produce a platform lighter than it should be for shortsighted reasons of economy.

          • Al L.

            The early M4 Sherman was steel and it was a both a death trap and a highly effective system.

            You are quoting early examples of aluminum use in weapons systems. We are 5 decades past when they were designed. Much has been learned since.

          • Robbie Roberts

            I was not aware that the physical properties of aluminum and iron had magically changed in the last few decades after being the same for the last few trillion. No amount of alloying or tempering will change the fact that the former softens and and later melts at roughly a third of the temperature of the latter, but evidently in your universe you don’t have to accept these realities of the physical universe and can assign whatever properties you want, which in turn allows you to hold whatever opinion you want between you and a very small number of people.

          • Al L.

            That is utterly illogical.

            Elemental carbon’s properties haven’t changed since the big bang. Humans have used it in one form another for hundreds of thousands of years. That hasn’t stopped humans from developing new and improved forms and uses of it.

            No one would have thought you could see through an aluminum alloy 50 years ago (except Gene Roddenberry), but today its possible.

            Materials science improves over time and engineers learn how to better combine materials in structures.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        I doubt that CAPT Hughes is a big fan of LCS. His writings consistently indicate a need for something much smaller, more numerous and better armed.

        • Lazarus

          Hughes is a fan of small ships in general and has criticized the USN for trying to build an all-large ship navy. Agree he is not a big fan of LCS, but he likes it more than building a light DDG such as FREMM or the Navantia frigates.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I haven’t seen any of his writings to that effect. Do you have a source?

            My take is that LCS is too big to be considered a true “small combatant” in the Hughes sense.

            In fact: it’s probably the antithesis of what the salvo equations and New Navy Fighting Machine (NNFM) would indicate is needed.

          • Lazarus

            Pick up his latest edition of Fleet Tactics

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I will – once the price comes down.

            Can you cite where he favors LCS over the FREMM or Navantia? Or are you inferring?

          • Lazarus

            Hughes has a preference for smaller frigates as suggested in his 2009 New Navy Fighting Machine document. He also suggests in his updated Aegean scenario that larger combatants will be unsurvivable and shows preference for both small (less than 1000 ton) warships and tiny, one person micro-combatants.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Ok. So how does that support your argument? LCS is a lot bigger than 1,000 tons.

          • Lazarus

            Yes, LCS is bigger, but Hughes is opposed to going larger as advocates of the FREMM and Navantia frigates might suggest. I agree with Hughes that a few, larger frigates will be overwhelmed and sunk quickly; talking their larger magazines with them. 52 LCS deployed in distributed ops would have been the right choice. Now, however, there is probably a strong need for the smaller, single purpose frigates that Hughes describes in his 2009 NNFM work.

    • Sir Bateman

      Correct me if I’m wrong but if the FREMM derivative wins isn’t the current plan to produce them at Marinette Marine up in Wisconsin where the current Freedom class LCS are being built?

      • Kypros

        Yes.

      • airider

        I don’t know that Fincantier actually committed to Marinette Marine, but that it would use its U.S. Shipyards to build it. It actually owns several. I think it all depends on the delivery schedule they agree to with the Navy. Bay Shipbuilding, across the water, could also contribute since it can handle much larger ship construction.

    • DaSaint

      The Freedom class has had more engineering casualties than the Independence class. Just thought you should know.

      • Lazarus

        3 verses 1? Two of the three major LCS 1 variant casualties were determined to be the result of poor crew training/not following EOSS. One was a software failure that was rapidly repaired.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Any system is only as good as it’s usability. The incidents you mention do call into question whether LCS is overly complex.

          • Lazarus

            Poor training has accounted for plenty of USN accidents. Software failure caused USS Yorktown to completely break down in the late 1990’s following its “smart ship” install. These are common occurrences.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            But you are talking about a one-off, post-production problem in one existing ship. My fear is that such bugs are “baked” into the entire LCS class.

            An overly complicated engineering plant to achieve (unnecessarily) high speed. Reliance on automation to minimize manpower.

            Then add in two distinct classes of ships (LCS-1 and LCS-2) each with their own combat systems, training pipeline and logistics tails!

            A small surface combat should be simple and reliable. We seem to have gone the opposite direction with LCS.

          • Lazarus

            The “bugs” theory is another LCS myth perpetuated by institutional opponents to the class. The first two LCS did have bugs, but that is common to every class. DDG 51 was once known as “Always Broke” because she was frequently unable to complete assigned tasks due to issues with her version of the AEGIS combat system.
            The Navy has frequently maintained multiple, different classes of low-end warships. During the Cold War there were often 3-4 very different frigate classes.
            You know, its been a while since there has been press reporting on an LCS casualty. Maybe the class reliability has improved as the LCS 5/6AF types are entering service? All of the talk of bad LCS reliability seems associated with the first two units. Is if fair to tar the successful, follow-on units of both types because of issues with LCS 1 and 2?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            LCS would have to actually deploy for there to be a chance of a breakdown or other issue!

            As for lack of recent LCS reporting: “absence of evidence” is not the same as “evidence of absence”. In laymen’s terms: don’t assume something works just because you want it to.

            DOT&E has a list of LCS faults that is literally pages long. Much longer than one would expect for a system that is in full-rate production.

            The problem is you choose to discredit the messenger, rather than accept the message.

          • Lazarus

            DOT&E’s list got considerably shorter in the wake of J. Michael Gilmore’s departure. Coincidence? That list is more opinion-based than anything else and closely mirror’s every class of US surface combatant produced since 1970. Back then it was GAO or CBO providing the hit list but those of LCS and the FFG 7 are remarkably similar even down to the complaint that neither ship had 50 tons of excess growth space. LOL!

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Actually, no. It has not gotten shorter. The 2017 DOT&E report (signed by Rob Behler) points out virtually the same list of issues wrt LCS that Dr. Gilmore pointed out. Again and again.

          • Lazarus

            Those are opinions. LCS has passed all of its testing. Not sure why DOT&E comments any more.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No, Laz. LCS has not passed all of it’s testing. That is why DOT&E is still reporting.

            References below are taken directly from FY17 DOT&E Annual Report – which is driven by the Navy self-reporting and the LCS Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP):

            – “The Navy expects to complete operational testing (OT) of both LCS seaframe variants with the SUW Increment 3 MP in FY18 and with the ASW MPs in FY20.”

            – “The LCS program conducted no operational testing of seaframes and MP capabilities in FY17.”

            -“The Navy has not conducted any air warfare test events against ASCM surrogates planned as part of the Enterprise Air Warfare Ship Self-Defense TEMP or the LCS TEMP.”

            – “The Navy continues to plan for the LCS MCM MP IOT&E scheduled in FY20.”

            – “The Navy conducted no at-sea testing of the ASW MP in FY17.”

          • Lazarus

            I said LCS had passed it testing. I did not say the mission packages had. They will never cease testing as by design they remain open ended entities always open to change and improvement.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No. The seaframes have not completed testing.

            Read the DOT&E report. Seaframe testing will be completed (planned anyways) with the ASW MPs in FY20.

            Note also below. ZERO air defense test events conducted or even planned. These events are in the Navy’s LCS Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP). Which means that even the FY20 goal is suspect.

            “The Navy has not conducted any air warfare tests against ASCM surrogates as part of the Enterprise Air Warfare Ship Self Defense TEMP or the LCS TEMP.”

          • Lazarus

            I am happy to discredit the messenger when the message is biased and inaccurate.

    • Leroy

      The President will never allow the purchase of a ship that is not designed and made in America. It does not fit with his Make America Great Again, which POTUS is doing. So? Mattis and DoD better pick a U.S.-designed and U.S.-made ship or they’ll be getting an earful. Might even cost a few people in the Pentagon their very coveted JOBS.

      Since LCS is made for a poor-man’s navy, let’s hope they choose HI NSC or our surface Navy will be outgunned, outmaneuvered, outclassed and OUT OF DOMINATION OF THE SURFACE OF THE HIGH SEAS in the very near future! China is coming on faster than anyone thinks. Are you missing it?

      PS. Thank God for our SSNs. They will save any lost day – or war!

      • Bubblehead

        In the coming years there will only be 41 operational SSN’s. Divide that by 2 coasts. Now take out a 1/3 of remaining for upkeep. Now a 1/3 of the remaining will be available for deployments. But don’t forget, the US tasks at least one sub to protect Carrier Battle Groups. What does that leave you with to win a war of attrition?

        Its an absolutely disastrous math formula and outright scary one. US will not have even remotely close the number of subs needed to win a war against near peer (and we all know who I am talking about). And extending the lives of subs is a much riskier proposition than surface ships. Those retiring LA class subs have been run pretty hard. So hard several of them are sitting dockside (and have been for over a year) not certified to submerge.

        • Matthew Schilling

          We need to build a couple dozen good, non-nuke subs: The underwater equivalent of the FFG(X) vs. AB DDGs.
          The Virginia is a wonder, but at > $2.5 billion and >5 years per boat, it’s no way to build a submarine fleet.

    • Robbie Roberts

      The order of win will follow the best offers made to the captains and admirals, with LM Freedom and HII NSC having the inside edge.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      You pretty much wrote a page that I could have written myself.

      The FREMM is clearly — and I do not think anyone can really debate this — clearly the best ship in the group. It’s probably the best frigate on the planet… Also, the Italians have two versions, a dedicated ASW version and a “General Purpose” variant. Presuming we build our own “general purpose” variant, it would probably be one of the most effective warships on the planet and as I have stated before, if we can get the pricing to somewhere like 5 FFGs for 2 DDGs, we can populate the fleet AND get great value.

      The HII Patrol/Sea Control/NSC-based FFG is probably the best value for dollar overall, leveraging off-the-shelf stuff, a hot production line, and HII does a lot of business building ships for our gov’t. I also believe they probably have some trix up their sleeve , haven’t refused to unveil their entrant so far.

      The Spanish F-100 “Mini_Aegis” is basically a 48-cell Arleigh Burke. It’s designed for Spain to have a limited-but-fully-capable-but-limited AAW platform, with 32 SM-2s and 16/64 ESSMs. I just don’t see how that helps… It’s basically a less-capable direct-clone Baby Burke. Perfect for other Navies… not us.

      I don’t necessarily HATE the LM one, whatever they’re calling it, MMSC, Freedom-variant Frigate, etc. I just think it’s the least capable, the LCSs have been total ripoffs, and LM is pretty much the evil empire.

      The Austal ones absolutely suck. They are so overwhelmed… designed to be high-speed, high-cargo-capability, low-draft, littoral-capable “trucks” for moving mission equipment and gear around … they somehow were dressed up like a warship and succeed at doing nothing well and having not very many plusses and lots of minuses.

    • PolicyWonk

      I would personally be stunned if your list turns out even moderately correct. What used to be PEO LCS (now USC, through the magic of marketing) has zero qualms about doubling down on tremendous error, demonstrating incompetence above and beyond the call of duty, and ethics so far below the call of duty that the USN felt it needed to change the name of the program office so it could pretend it resolved the problems PEO LCS caused, one of which was what the USN itself deemed “the program that broke naval acquisition”.

      Hence, based on recent history, I would suggest that Lockmart and Austal have the inside track, despite the woefully poor design and construction of both LCS classes (a large amount of the blame of which goes to the incompetents at what is now called PEO USC).

      After these, the deal could possibly go to HII for a frigate based on the excellent Legend-class NSC sea-frame, simply because its an American design. That said, one can never underestimate the loathing and resentment some folks in the USN are likely to have for the excellent HII NSC design, because the USCG got it so right, while the USN got it so wrong.

      After the HII NSC based solution, we would come to the FREEM, and after that, the F100.

      Unfortunately, the skeptic in me comes out on this matter because when it comes to LCS, what we have is a pathetic excuse for a fighting ship, especially when comparing it to anything our peer or near-peer (potential) adversaries are building of similar (or even half the) tonnage. What’s best for the USN or US National Security isn’t likely part of the equation, unless we’re discussing giving lip-service and nothing more. Its now been reduced to politics, childish jealousy, and lack of adult supervision.

      The above said, I sincerely hope to be proven wrong.

      • Bubblehead

        Thx for ruining my Friday policy!

        • PolicyWonk

          Sorry 🙁

          I really liked your list and I consider it likely correct w/r/t the USN’s published priorities, all things being equal, and accomplishing the mission sets being given maximum weight in the deliberation.

          But I am a realist, have followed the LCS program with great interest since its inception, and unlike Duane-o-Laz, am cursed with a good memory. The pettiness, incompetence, flagrant deception on the part of the PEO LCS/USC (let alone their enablers) to the HoR’s and taxpayers, and open willingness to double-down on obvious mistakes, really concerns me. The whole lot of ’em should’ve been court-martialed, stripped of rank, and drummed out of the service for dishonoring the Navy (and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars).

          I see little reason for optimism when it comes to FFG(X), outside of the USN’s stated requirements, which would normally negate any LCS-based offering. But these are hardly “normal” times.

          As I stated in my posting to you: I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

    • airider

      I think just about all of us agree that the primary hull and superstructure should be steel. There’s a lot of both operational and maintenance history to support this, and it doesn’t require any more debate, discussion or contention.

      • Al L.

        Lets place your statement in an 1850’s context : ” I think just about all of us agree that the primary hull and superstructure should be wood. There’s a lot of both operational and maintenance history to support this, and it doesn’t require any more debate, discussion or contention.

        • airider

          Interesting way to look at it. I guess the point I didn’t articulate clearly enough is that the Navy has done the aluminum “bit” for decades now and knows the advantages and short falls. The Navy made the decision to go with all steel on the DDG-51’s after a steal and aluminum hybrid on the DD-963’s and CG-47’s.

          The fact that folks were going back and forth earlier in the post about aluminum just seemed a bit OBE at this point.

          • Al L.

            The Navy has little experience with all aluminum ships. The civilian sector has lots of experience.

            The Spruances and Ticos are perhaps the worse way to use aluminum: a long narrow traditional steel hull combined with a nonunitary irregular aluminum superstructure. The flexibility allowable in such a steel hull mates poorly to the stiffness required of an aluminum structure. The connections are difficult to design execute and maintain. The Navy shouldn’t have and should never again buy such a ship.

            The lesson from those ships is not to not use aluminum, but to not use it in that way.

          • Refguy

            But, the Navy added steel plates to the bridge of Spruances and Tic’s to protect against machine gun round. They also should have learned from the Belknap fire.

    • Curtis Conway

      Remember, you are just buying HM&E. The GFE items are bulk buy with the rest of the force. The SPY-6(v) will be a little different based upon DDG-51 Flt III development, PMTC testing with the smaller EASR antenna array, but everything else will be on platforms at sea already. Not crazy about MT30s. I’m a Tried & True LM2500 fan!

    • vetww2

      Your comments are excellent. The only one that I take umbrage with is “STEALTH.”It no longer exists with ships. Radar cross section is no longer a factor. Sattelite tracking can, and does” track every ship it cares to, in real time. accurate to 2 feet. In addition, we have persistent wake trackers, and, above the 40th parallel, bioluminescence. Homing missiles round out the problem. Radar track is almost redundant.
      The Spanish F81 class, derived from our Perry class frigate, as you noted, is a contender. The excellant hull design needs only have up to date equipment to be an economical approach for our new FFG.

      • Bubblehead

        We can agree to disagree then. Having a 400ft frigate show up the size of a small fishing boat on radar is very relevant. There are tens thousands ships prowling ocean. Very few military. Not standing out with the rest commercial traffic is very relevant. Most satellites anyways are using radar. Bioessense & turbalence are not proven technologies yet and might never be. Soviets have been working on both for decades w/o much success. They are little more than theory’s st this point. You will know when and if those technologies ever mature, subs will no longer control the seas.

        And having reduced IR is probably just as important as radar signature.

        If those trains aren’t enough, just remember, satilites will be the 1st thing knocked out with a fight with near peer. If sats were the answer why would US be spending billions on P8’s & Triton?

        Recon by air will still rule the skies in the next fight.

  • NavySubNuke

    At least they are correct when they say nothing else on Earth can possibly compare to an LCS….. but that is because no other nation on earth would spend so much on a ship that is capable of so little.

    • Lazarus

      LCS is pretty cool and more are hitting the water and joining the fleet every day.

      • Curtis Conway

        Much to the detriment of that influence in the overall ship-count w/r/t combat capability.

        • Robbie Roberts

          They must be at a LM shareholders meeting and don’t have time to post.

      • PolicyWonk

        Its only cool if you’re a potential adversary of the USA, or are a denizen of the boardroom of either Austal or LockMart.

        Its not cool if you’re a taxpayer who’s been shafted into paying for it; or are a crewman ordered to man a ship that wasn’t designed or built to fight.

    • NavySubNuke

      And the orginal post is lost to moderation.
      Not really a surprise since it is impossible to be an LCS supporter and a person of integrity.
      Any guesses about what it is that makes LCS supporters lie so much?

  • Curtis Conway

    The first bullet is a moot point. The president signed the budget this week. Mission sets for the FFG(X) as a multi-mission platform of diverse capability, yet have smaller magazines has already been affirmed. The only mission area not specifically identified is operations in an Arctic-Ice Seas environment requiring a hardened hull, and perhaps a different bow design/ice-hardened hull. As has been pointed out numerous times before, including in this very article, the clean-sheet design approach simply takes too long, and there is no time for that. Ship count must rise rapidly, and the numbers have to have capability that is applicable in more than one mission set for any given deployment. The FFG(X) SHOULD become the LCS game of the future, for this is what the LCS should have always been. The FFG(X) can go anywhere and survive at least for a while. The LCS is dead at the beginning of conflict in far too many scenarios. My estimation of any implications of the FFG(X) Program influencing the CG Program is ‘no affect at all’, for the mission overlap w/r/t combat capability is so small as to nearly not be relevant. Similarly the DDG Programs will be nearly unaffected, except for the low end destroyers. As the DDG-51 Flt I Destroyers begin to come out of service, there are opportunities for an FFG(X) radar RMA-count upgrade, and addition of VLS cells that can make this platform more relevant, though it will not be equivalent (no SQS-53 sonar). However, this makes that platform uniquely qualified for Arctic/Antarctic service, particularly in the presence of ice and an SSN.

    Which ever design can meet these assumptions would get my vote. Navantia would be my preference for I know not what the HII proposal looks like.

    • DaSaint

      I’m just eagerly awaiting the actual RFP. I think we’re going to be surprised at its latitude.

      • Curtis Conway

        The hull mounted sonar was truncated for a reason. Most folks can’t figure that out. Cost is the first and huge consideration. This is not a predominantly ASW platform, it can just do ASW also, and do a pretty fair job at that with a VDS, tail and MH-60R. As for Robbie the robot up there, obviously he has not been staying up to date as to what is currently going on in the Arctic that a USCG Icebreaker will run into, and how little ice there is in some places over a growing stretch of the Arctic, for longer periods of time, and its a trend that has not ebbed on the average yet. When the Icebreaker is doing its job (breaking ice), the accompanying surface combatant will have to be able to handle that, and it Will Not have a sonar dome on the front pushing ice. That would be irresponsible, for it WILL go to drydock for repairs upon return. Otherwise the Heavy Icebreaker is a Icebreaker Guided Missile (which is not a bad idea in my mind). The Heavy Icebreaker should probably be able to UNREP fuel on both sides for an escort too.

        • DaSaint

          I like the UNREP capability. That makes perfect sense. Didn’t I read just the other day that a FRC did a deployment to the South Pacific and was replenished by another CG vessel along the way? So not farfetched.

          • Curtis Conway

            Anyone required to go on the High Seas should be UNREP capable, and should probably have a receiving area drawn out for helo borne loads in cargo nets. For the FRC a Non-STREAM Spanwire, a Spanline Rig Variation, will provide the refueling connectivity/capability.

          • Curtis Conway

            Don’t forget that all UNREP participants must be equipped, trained and qualified, and just because they do one (UNREP) they are not necessarily qualified for the other (VERTREP). The Helo is a huge Van de Graaff generator, and could kill you with first contact if not grounded first. That grounding equipment, and the grounding process, must be well thought out on the ship. You just can’t put the clamp on anything, particularly if its painted, or corroded.

          • DaSaint

            Understood.

      • RunningBear

        ….but hopefully, not it’s costs. We should be buying 24 instead of 20 to provide 2 per CSG and spares.
        IMHO
        🙂

    • Robbie Roberts

      An ice breaking bow and hull form is blunt and makes for poor cruising efficiency and sea keeping. Speed would be a few knots in ice while making a lot of noise doing it and not getting far before running out of fuel. Moreover, there is little there most of the time so there is no significant purpose for being there. Submarines and heavy (armed logistic) icebreakers on a limited scale are all that is required beyond a small number of current and projected hardened patrol vessels. The distances and harshness of the environment make this a natural barrier to most forms of major military activity.

    • RunningBear

      FFG(X) must be an ASW networked platform. The LCS ASW mission modules are soon to be installed and tested. These should be the basis for the ASW function on the FFG(X). The active towed array may be found redundant with the MH-60R dipping sonar and the passive fiber-optic towed array refinements should provide a “state-of-the-art” ASW networked system. The FFG ASW picket of a CSG networked with the CG/DDG/SSN could provide remote confirmation and incipient detection in an ASW group/system. The compatibility with the DDG Flt. III systems could reduce the cost for both platforms (volume buying). VLS (RAM, ESSM, Asroc, SM-2, etc.) and the 5″ Mk. 45 as a base design with possibly the new GLGP with the anti-air ordinance (grape shot). FFG(X) must not become a DDG Flt. III, jr. in costs. SPY-6 (sized to fit) and networked with the MH-60/ MQ-8C Fire Scout AESA radar should provide OTH networking for both the FFG and the CSG, again that “picket” role.

      IMHO
      🙂

      • Curtis Conway

        “The active towed array may be found redundant with the MH-60R dipping sonar” . . . I hope NO ONE ever thinks this, for the helo has to press the attack at long range. Employing the VDS and tail requires a maneuvering regime, which may very well place them into a position of not being able to press the attack with own ship, but with the helo. If firing criteria is not met, the dipper is one sure way to get it back.
        Of course the ASW Orchestra is playing loudly (or hopefully quietly).

        Like the commonality with Flt III, particularly the gun idea. The Marines will love that even to SM-6 (without the booster).

        “FFG(X) must not become a DDG Flt. III, jr. in costs”. The GFE will make it so if it does, and that is why THIS HULL is so important. It should be as efficient as we can make it, with double-digit % room to grow. The FFG(X) should be a potential step-up to nearly a DDG-51 Flt III using new improved systems, and more innovative ways of doing things (EO/IR & EMW [passive systems]). Remember, this new modern more deadly Battle-Space requires this.

        I’m Big on Picket / Skirmishers. It’s one of the most dangerous job assignments you can be assigned, and the crew better be Cracker Jack.

        • Lazarus

          Picket/Skirmishers were death traps in WW2 and even more so in the current, advanced PGM environment.

          • Curtis Conway

            My point exactly, and makes the case for a very capable FFG(X). So why did you build one (non-survivable skirmisher) in the form of the LCS? I got such a kick out of watching the LCS outrun the Chinese Surface Combatant . . . thanking G-d the whole time we were not at war for the LCS would have been dead. One cannot outrun a supersonic ASCM!

          • Lazarus

            No single ship is survivable in such a role; not even a DDG 51. The best choice for such a role is an unmanned ship or aircraft acting merely as a sensor drone.

          • Curtis Conway

            Read this one James B., he is starting to sound like me years ago!

        • RunningBear

          “The active towed array may be found redundant with the MH-60R dipping sonar”…..on a ship, I would be hesitant to provide range and bearing for a sub’s weapons system when active pinging. Yes, I well realize the propulsion system is providing a bearing but I would prefer the Romeo provide the active pinging. Also, the FFG(X) must have a Mk 32 triple tube launcher for the Mk-54 torpedoes, otherwise the VLS Asroc and the Romeo are the only means of engaging the submarines. The MQ-8C has a load capacity of 3Klbs. and I believe it also could provide a networked dipping sonar and Mk-54s from the FFG(X).

          ASW will not be a video game for the pickets, it will be life and death and God be with them.

          IMHO
          🙂

      • Curtis Conway

        In combat redundancy is GOOD!

  • DefTactics

    Just remember what happened to that swift transport the USN sold to the Saudi’s. I missile hit and it burned and was completely destroyed.

    • The same could be said for several 4,000 ton steel-hulled frigates. The only surface combatant afloat that might remain operational after a missile hit is the 16,000 ton Zumwalt.

      • Lazarus

        Wayne Hughes (or one of his NPS associates) once suggested that any ship less than 600 feet in length and less than 10K tons displacement was vulnerable to loss from as little as one big weapon (ASCM, torpedo, mine) hit due to the strong possibility that such a hit would exceed the ship’s floodable length. That said, the Navy should not fear to commission small ships as they perform vital roles and cost much less than their larger counterparts. It is a false fear to not build small ships because they are supposedly not “survivable.”

        • A good example would be the WWII destroyers – they provided excellent service but were horribly unsurvivable (largely because they were intentionally built to lower standards for the sake of speed). The US lost 2 to single bomb hits, 4 to single mine hits, 7 to single Kamikaze hits, and no fewer than 12 to single torpedo hits – not to mention the 4 lost to bad weather, 3 sunk after being accidentally rammed, 2 destroyed by grounding, and 1 which sank after depth charging herself.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          I believe you are confusing your references a bit. You may be thinking of Brookings Institute and Schulte (NPS) studies circa 1985 – both of which are cited in Hughes’s “Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat”.

          The Brookings model postulated that one hit by a large ASCM would incapacitate a ship up to 300 feet long – and another ASCM hit would be required for each additional 100 feet of ship length.

          Schulte’s empirically-based study of ASCM attacks indicates it took 2-3 ASCM hits to sink a 3,000-ton sized vessel. There was/is no empirical data on ships larger than this.

          It should be noted that Schulte dataset was largely based on hits by subsonic Exocets. Its dated. Modern supersonic ASCMs pack a lot more kinetic energy.

          If anything, these analyses argue for “small combatants” that are much smaller than LCS – since any hit on a ship less than 300 feet in length will likely be a mission kill.

          • Lazarus

            Agree the Schulte report is dated and reflects 1970’s era ASCM’s and not those of the present day. That said, my reference is not from Schulte or the Fleet tactics book but a more recent Hughes article.

      • Refguy

        Wouldn’t that depend on the missile? It would have to be more lethal than an Exocet.

  • Robbie Roberts

    Only a diesel semi-electric Arleigh Burke with much less powerful arrays and a sharply reduced weapons outfit meets all the requirements laid out by the navy. Every one of the candidates is either absurdly too expensive and/or would require years and billions to adapt to NAVSEA requirements.

    • NavySubNuke

      I’m just trying to imagine a world where a “diesel semi-electric Arleigh Burke with much less powerful arrays and sharply a reduced weapons outfit” isn’t “absurdly too expensive and would require years and billions to adapt”.
      You think there are designs for a diesel semi-electric Arleigh Burke just sitting on the shelf somewhere waiting for someone to blow the dust off and build them?

      • Robbie Roberts

        You should educate yourself about the costs involved with building warships.

        • NavySubNuke

          LOL – thanks for that well articulated and well reasoned counter argument. That definitely proves you aren’t just a clueless nut job who has no idea what he is talking about.

          • Robbie Roberts

            No, it means that I have neither the time nor inclination to explain what is a complex subject matter. You aren’t any less opinionated than Duane and company, at least he more than likely had naval experience despite ties and/or shares in LM that overshadows his views on most matters.

          • Curtis Conway

            The ‘Existing Design’ aspect of the FFG(X) is supposed to mitigate (though it will not eliminate) that cost of construction. That is why existing systems are supposed to be incorporated in the combat system, and there should be displacement and space for growth.

          • Robbie Roberts

            Agreed. My position involves drawing almost entirely on a set of systems that already is in production for the navy reduced down to meet the needs of a frigate escort vessel rather than the opposite route with the Arleigh Burke destroyers of attempting to pack in as much as possible to maximize their capabilities, reducing a $1.8B ship to under one billion with development efforts and costs so basic and minimal that the lead frigate could commission by 2022. The most common error people make is that displacement is proportional to cost, not even remotely true, lest a Virginia cost $1.5B,, San Antonio $4.6B, America $8.1, and a Ford $18B.

        • A Flight III Burke costs $1,737m. All the weapons and electronics combined are $694m. So your stripped down Burke would almost certainly be in the $1,500m range. At that price the Navy is much better off just buying fully equipped Burkes.

          • NavySubNuke

            (sarcasm) Well at least the cost of integrating that entirely new diesel based semi-electric engineroom into a Burke hull would not only be free but would also take no time and add no technical or programmatic risk to the effort — since it is already in production of course!!
            The only thing holding us back from this amazing paper warship is all the bribes paid to “captains and admirals” as he says above (/sarcasm)

        • NavySubNuke

          Not sure where your reply went but I saw in my email that you think a DDG-51 bare hull costs $300M?
          Sorry but no. Look at the SCN budget — it breaks down the costs of the ship by major category and the basic construction of DDG is over $700M.

          • Al L.

            And the Navy is budgeting $495 million for the FFG(x) basic hull before GFE. So an AB hull would have to somehow cost 29%+ less to fit the budget parameters.

            Thats a pipe dream.

          • Robbie Roberts

            A large chunk of this thread seems to have been deleted, since you are referencing something, $300M, stated in a post a couple of hours after others reacted to mine. Your number refers to a ship furnished with supporting fixtures, like galleys, water purification, and all related types of items, not the steel hull that was mentioned to underscore the fact that the displacement of the ship has limited relation to its end cost; with a crew of half the size the number would be roughly $600M in the case of a simplified frigate escort. Another poster referred to a Flight III having $694M in weapons and electronics, which apart from appearing incorrect (source?), would reflect the cost of the items delivered to the shipyard; installation is just as great a cost, and with a much simplified outfit, a reduced outfit would also cost less to install, especially since shipyard workers aren’t tripping over each other in confined spaces. Like building or renovating a house, most of the cost is labor and not the materials, and if the cost of heating and taxes are reasonable, the largest house makes the most sense; how its furnished is a separate matter.

          • NavySubNuke

            Duane, one of the few pro LCS trolls deletes posts all the time whenever he doesnt agree with them.

          • Robbie Roberts

            I have as many as a third of mine deleted, Duane being the most obvious suspect. My initial dismissive response of not wanting to offer details was the product of being tired of compiling detailed posts that are a favorite target for deletion; the initial statement was offered largely because it seemed Duane was not active in the comments of the article.
            I seriously wonder who this person is and how he manages to get away with it. Its almost like its a communist website in as far as comments are concerned.

          • NavySubNuke

            The trick is finding the entertainment in the actions of an ignorant old fool who has no idea what he is talking about. Never let gutter trash like that upset you or get you down, he isnt worth it.
            If you look at your profile the posts are still there so you can copy and paste them back and they will last until the little troll flags them again.

  • airider

    Nothing new to see here….move along.

  • tom dolan

    I question whether it is necessary or desirable to insist on stealth for what is going to be a carrier escort for the majority of its service life. The Zumwalt specifically design and cost makes it unaffordable to procure in numbers and if included in a carrier task force negates its stealth (ie find the carrier find the Zumwalt)

    • vetww2

      …not to mention that it capsizes in a turn in SS5 seas.

      • Lazarus

        Zumwalt’s tumblehome hull is not unstable and not subject to capsize as you suggest. Another “myth” in the internet battlespace not supported by facts.

  • tom dolan

    I think the selection of these vessels should involve as many sea officers as possible to negate the adverse effect of greedy politicians both in Congress and at the Pentagon.

  • tom dolan

    Navy procurement should be about getting the best and most utilitarian ship in the highest numbers so that sailors can protect the nation. ..not so the XYZ shipyard declares a dividend or provides ex-Admiral Remf with a lucrative place to spend his golden years

  • Lazarus

    It is LCS critics who routinely engage in hyperbole and repeat fallacies about LCS that are just not true. The first LCS 2 variant (independence) had some hull corrosion issues but follow on units have not. LCS 5 had a software fault that caused a breakdown at sea, but again this was one ship and one occurrence. The amount of untrue myths about tbe class is astounding.

    • PolicyWonk

      On this we can agree. And all you have to do for it to stop is by simply ceasing to attempt defending the indefensible.

      • Lazarus

        No

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      Re: “untrue LCS myths”: perhaps it is because the justification for buying LCS — along with it’s CONOPs, and capabilities — have not been particularly consistent.

      It’s hard to know what is real and false when the Navy cannot seem to get it’s own story straight.

      • Lazarus

        Not every platform can be an easy upgrade such as the P-8. Getting any innovation out of the backward, 1950’s-era Defense acquisition system is a backbreaking process.
        CONOPS do change and with our return to Great Power Competition at sea I suggest that EVERYONE’s CONOPS has changed. Again, you are reading about changes in LCS CONOPS because its LCS.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          LCS complexity and the decade of failures that have followed were a result of some very poor front-end analysis coupled with extremely poor assumptions and rosy technology risk assessments. See every article written by GAO and CRS.

          Your explanation seems to be that LCS would have been a resounding success – if only the entire DOD acquisition and testing system had somehow miraculously and spontaneously changed!!!

          P-8A was hardly an “easy upgrade”. Go read the MMA CBA. I think CNA did it. Lots of potential, non-traditional concepts were examined to recapitalize the capabilities resident in the P-3 Orion. The commercial derivative aircraft won out largely because it met the requirements and was low risk.

          Compare P-8 and LCS. They started at about the same time. We are flying P-8As operationally every day – and they are doing the actual missions they were intended for. Meanwhile, LCS is a meaningless sideshow that the Navy is trying to run away from as fast as possible.

  • Lazarus

    LCS 2 had corrosion issues that were rectified in follow on units.

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL…. sure they do…..
    “The Administration strongly objects to the provision of an additional $475 million above the FY 2019 Budget request for the procurement of a second LCS. The additional ship is not needed. One LCS in FY 2019, when combined with the three funded in FY 2018, would keep both shipyards supplied with enough work to remain viable for the Frigate competition. It is imperative that, based on lessons learned from the LCS program, a more capable and survivable ship is developed to meet the Navy’s needs, consistent with NDS priorities.

    • DaSaint

      NSN, how did you do the italics and bold?!

      • NavySubNuke

        Html tagging in the comment itself.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    It is impossible to say what “the Navy” loves or does not love. Given LCSs infrequent deployments, I doubt most sailors have even seen an LCS.

    I do have 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.”

    • Lazarus

      Who might that be? I have just as many quotes from serving LCS CO’s that would completely contradict that statement.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Serving COs are hardly an impartial sample.

  • NavySubNuke

    “LCS are today heavily armed, with the best anti ship missile currently in USN service – the Naval Strike Missile ”
    — This is a lie — there are no LCS armed TODAY with an NSM, the Navy just started buying them.
    “with fire control battle data management by a AEGIS derivative system called “COMBATTS-21″”
    This is a lie, as of today the after market ASCM launcher welded onto LCS is as yet not tied in to the fire control systems of the LCS.
    ” and the finest most capable anti-small vessel and aircraft weapons on earth – the Mk 110 57 mm and two Mk 46 30 mm guns plus a 24 cell Hellfire launcher and 3 or 4 aircraft equipped with Hellfires and APKWS”
    This is also a lie, none of the weapons you mentioned are anywhere close to the finest aircraft weapons on earth.
    “plus Mk 54 torpedoes”
    This is a lie, there are no LCS with torpedoes
    “plus an advanced torpedo defense system”
    I’d love to see your evidence that any LCS is equipped with torpedo defense system, this is certainly the first I have heard of it.
    “the Navy’s most advanced surface ship ASW sonar system”
    This is also a lie, no LCS are currently equipped with an ASW sonar system, never mind the “most advanced”. Such a system would belong to our submarines first of all. And even if you wanted to limited it to the surface fleet the CAS upgrades our DDGs are receiving are head and shoulders above what the LCS has organically. Maybe someday when the ASW mission module actually IOCs, at least a year away, they can claim that but not today.
    “Navy’s most advanced ASCM defense system, SeaRAM”
    Another lie, SM6 beats SeaRAM any day
    “In its intended littoral waters battlespace, an LCS is better armed and defended than any other ship on eartj including our DDGs. Without question.”
    Demonstrably false, LCS carry a fraction of the weapons our DDGs do. I’d take a DDG in the littorals over an LCS any day — and not just because the DDG could make it to the littorals and back without needing a tow.
    “Indeed, everything cited above as LCS offensive and defensive capabilities are precisely what the Navy specified for FFG(X) – the very ship we are discussing in this thread.”
    Demonstrably false – FFG(x) is going to have VLS and EASR.
    Nice try old man but next time you accuse someone of lying try to sure at least one part of your reply is truthful.

    • PolicyWonk

      Yo NSN,

      The LCS program is yet again in the doghouse, because the parts of the MCM mission package declared ready for IOC by the USN have run into opposition from the Pentagon’s own IG, who declared them unsuitable for an IOC declaration for a number of reasons – which are summarized on DoD Buzz.

      So far, the LCS program has achieved the dubious distinction in reaching a perfect score of 100%, after being scorched by every auditing agency overseeing defense programs this nation has.

      But for Laz and Duane, this is evidently what they consider success.

      • Lazarus

        The navy completely rejected the very politically-driven DoD IG remarks on MiW system testing. As always, testing proves that testing works and not much else.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Source on Navy’s rejection? I haven’t seen any PAO comments on this.

          • Lazarus

            Read the IG report. The service rejected their comments and has not changed its evaluation of the MIW systems in question.

        • PolicyWonk

          Riiiiiight…

          If you say so. However, it does align with similar commentary from every other auditing agency that has issued scathing reports regarding the corporate welfare program that is LCS.

          The USN isn’t helping itself here – and you’re not helping them either.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    It’s on USNI. Search for “Build Better Fleets”. See comments.

    • Lazarus

      I can find one Navy Lieutenant who is in favor or opposed to a number of things. Hardly a representative opinion.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        It’s one more sample than you’ve provided.

  • NavySubNuke

    Duane the EXOCET warhead is 165 KILOGRAMS not pounds. That equates to 363 POUNDs or double what you claim above.
    For comparison the NSM, which is as you like to call it “the best anti ship missile currently in USN service (despite it not actually yet being in service with the Navy) warhead is 125 KILOGRAMS.
    LRASM has a 1000 lb or 450 KG warhead but that is a different beast all together.

  • NavySubNuke

    It is certainly true that we are in the process of arming but to say we are today armed with NSM is a lie.

  • NavySubNuke

    At no point in the Navy’s official statement or in any other reporting about the launch do they ever state that the data was processed through the ships fire control system.
    Nice try making up additional information though.

  • Duane

    I am really looking forward to seeing heads explode amongst the tiny cadre of rabid LCS haters when the Navy selects one of the two LCS derivative ship designs for FFG(X), and then awards production contracts to both LCS yards to build the selected design.

    Ths haters will go full Russian troll farm batsh*t crazy in their anti-USN fulminations online for years to come, blaming the decision on the “deep state” conspiracy. Tinfoil hat country for years to come.

    • NavySubNuke

      Duane we all realize all you care about is being “right”.
      But you should realize some of us actually care about America and about the lives of US sailors. We all realize there is a great chance that the Navy will make the easy decision and just buy a stretched out pier queen rather than an actual warship for FFG(X) but we are hoping the Navy will do the right thing instead of the easy thing.
      We already doubled down on failure by procuring both under performing LCS hulls and thereby doubling the sustainment tail associated with this failed program. We just hope that that Navy doesn’t triple down on failure and instead selects a design that is reliable, survivable, and capable of deterring our nations enemies as well as capable of fighting and winning the nations wars should deterrence fail.
      I realize that, in your mind, our love of our country, our navy, and our sailors makes us trolls but that is a product of your own pride and ignorance and in no way reflective of the truth.

      • NavySubNuke

        The good news is that there is still time for the Navy to make the right decision rather than the easy one. As the administration said just yesterday: “It is imperative that, based on lessons learned from the LCS program, a more capable and survivable ship is developed to meet the Navy’s needs, consistent with NDS priorities.”
        So there is always a chance.

      • Kypros

        Amen!

      • Bubblehead

        Excellent posting NavySub. So much so, you should publicize it.

        I am confident the USN will not triple down on failure. The USN brass has been having their a-ses handed to them (and rightly so) for the last 10 years over the LCS fiasco. They have no desire for another 10 years of embarrassment.

        That is why if the USN chooses a ship based on US origins, it will choose the NSC derivative. Which we can only assume its details since nothing is released. It’s the neutral party, satisfies mostly everyone. It wouldn’t be my favorite choice, but then again I couldn’t fault the decision either. If Huntington put in the GFE as stated in the RFP into an NSC platform it should perform admirably.

      • vetww2

        Not BEING right, only being thought of as right. Check of data for the
        V-22 and LCS prove otherwise. I was closely involved in both selections and POLITICS alone drove both decisions. That is how we bought 2 LCS besigns and an innefficient, expensive (OVER two BIllion $$$$$ R&D)hunk-a-junk,

    • Kypros

      Once again, you speak as if the fix is in for the corrupt, but NOT for the security of the United States.

    • Lazarus

      Agree and if one of the “DDG light” designs is picked, I look forward to the many integration problems it will have as a foreign design in USN service. All of the LCS GFE in the FFGX contract will need to be integrated; something that the USN is not good at doing without time and $$$. The LCS critics will soon be complaining about FREMM or Navantia; saying the Navy is moving too slow, or is incompetent etc.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Several months ago I recall you writing an LCS variant will be the choice for FFG(X). Have the prospects changed?

        • Lazarus

          Nope. An LCS variant is still the likely choice. One must however account for other possibilities.

          • Kypros

            So the “fix” is still in.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            “Likely” is very different from “will.”

            Given the FFG(X) requirements (which are very focused on high-end warfare) it seems unlikely that an LCS variant will be selected. Plus LCS has an awful lot of baggage. It’s already fallen short when pitched as a frigate.

            The Small Surface Combatant Task Force recommended an up-gunned LCS as the new frigate back in 2014. The study and its recommendation were essentially put in the circular file by SECDEF.

            Why do you think DOD would accept an LCS variant this time – when it has already reviewed the concept and rejected it once before?

          • Lazarus

            That was a different SECDEF. There is also the need to build to 355 ships and keep costs to a minimum. The non-LCS candidates are more costly, and will need to do the integration and testing necessary to make the LCS-based GFE work in their platforms. That’s more cost. Based on these factors I suggest that an LCS variant will be chosen as the FFGX.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I would imagine the current SECDEF values capability over numbers. He lived through the hollow force of 1970s.

            I just don’t see a modification of either LCS design being well-suited to meet the FFG(X) requirements. They are so drastically different from what LCS was designed to.

          • Lazarus

            Well, we’ll see what happens.

      • airider

        Shipbuilding is all about integration. The Navy needs to pick the best design and yard that can do that with the GFE and operational requirements proposed.

        I think the FREMM has a lot of advantage in this area because they’ve built multiple derivatives already focused on the different mission sets of different countries.

        • Lazarus

          But not under the US Defense acquisition and test and evaluation system. Big difference from state owned, cordial corporate relations.

    • airider

      I think if the “derivative” is changed enough, I could live with that.

  • Lazarus

    You are repeating more myths. The LCS combining gear system is complex, but operates just fine with trained crews. LCS can loiter and be very fuel efficient at the low speeds needed for ASW as well.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      Again: I’d like to see the data on LCS fuel-efficiency to which you continually allude.

      It is not intuitive to me that hulls, powerplants and machinery that were optimized for high speed (40+ kts) would be “very fuel efficient” at low speeds (say 10-15 kts).

      We’re also talking about two distinct seaframes (LCS-1 and LCS-2). LCS-2 was based on a high-speed ferry. Why would it need to loiter?

      • Lazarus

        LCS test data suggests really good endurance at low speed (10 kts or less.) You know where I work. Send me an email and I will send you some data.

        • DaSaint

          Duane/Lazarus, waterjets are inherently inefficient at low speeds. You know that.
          Props are most efficient up to around 30 knots, and max out at around 34 or 35. Cavitation beyond that affects their efficiency.

          Waterjets are most efficient above 26 or 28 knots, and are undeniably more efficient above 35. That’s pretty much well documented in commercial high-speed operations.

      • DaSaint

        They are both based on high speed ferry designs. One a monohull and the other a trimaran.

        Anything operating on diesels as opposed to gas turbines is more efficient, as it is by default at lower speeds. This isn’t in itself a new concept. The fact that these seaframes were designed for 40+ speeds is arguably unnecessary however, and the fuel-burn required for such speeds would have been better off adding to range instead.

  • Lazarus

    I seriously doubt you or the other “hobbyists” here posses the level of knowledge that I do on the LCS program.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      I don’t doubt your level of knowledge.

      I do question your objectivity – at least when it comes to LCS.

      • Lazarus

        I don’t have any reason to not be objective. I do not work for Austal or LHM and don’t have a dog in the acquisition fight here.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          I didn’t say I could explain your lack of objectivity. My theory is that LCS is your pet rock.

        • DaSaint

          Then tell me this: In your professional opinion, which of them, if either, will be selected as the FFG(X) finalist – AND WHY?

  • Lazarus

    I really do not know where “0 for 2” originates?

    • NavySubNuke

      So that low end ships needs to be:
      1) Capable of accomplishing those missions and also
      2) be reliable and able to go to sea to accomplish those missions.
      Thus far LCS grades as 0 on both points — hence 0 for 2.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    They’re the same person. One accidentally replied to me using the other name months and months back, and then tried to backtrack. That’s why I have had them on ignore for a long long time, don’t even bother with “them”.

    • NavySubNuke

      Hmm interesting. I wonder if they know they are the same person or if they are just two personalities unknowingly sharing the same body?

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        now I never actually was in the Navy (Although I was a USNA Nominee and it was my dream in life — long story) and as much as I wanted to be a Submarine Officer, I didn’t think I’d make it through Nuc School … BUT — from what I have heard, read, and know about Nucs, you just said a hilariously spot-on representation of Nuc-thought lol. I am very impressed!!

        • NavySubNuke

          Guilty as charged on both USNA and being a nuke….
          Sorry that your dream in life didn’t work out even after getting the nomination. If it is any consolation the best description I have have ever heard (it is attributed to John McCain but I imagine that is just a sea story) is that 4 years at USNA is a $250,000 education shoved up your a$$ a nickle a time….
          I can tell you first hand — that is quite a lot of nickles!

          • Curtis Conway

            It’s times like this I’m glad I’m a Chief Warrant Officer!

        • Lazarus

          You were never in the Navy, yet you argue with those of us who spent 20+ years and suggest you actually know more? Seriously?

  • NavySubNuke

    Sorry to break the news to you old man but the AM39, the air launched version of the Exocet, has the same warhead as the others.
    Check out this need little info graphic from CSIS:
    https://missilethreat. csis . org /missile/exocet/ (note: after you copy and paste the link simply remove the extra spaces)

  • NavySubNuke

    “All I care about is the Navy getting the best ships it can afford to buy and operate”
    Sure you do Duane (wink wink)
    The trouble Duane is you think everyone who disagrees with you is a troll. Even DoD since they have made it clear the LCS isn’t the ship the Navy needs — the navy needs something more capable which is why we are doing FFG(X) at all.
    You can claim all you like that a FREMM variant is unaffordable even though there is no proof that it is.

  • NavySubNuke

    Hey Duane, at this point in 2017 how many LCS were supposed to be deployed at this point in 2018?
    Oh yeah, 4…..
    No worries though — I am sure that next year they will be able to deploy….

  • NavySubNuke

    3 one off deployments stretched out in a 5 year period… wow, I am simply amazed!

    • PolicyWonk

      Indeed – contrast that to the numerous EPF deployments. And their crews can’t stop singing their praises and “skies the limit” versatility (for less than 1/3 the cost).

      • NavySubNuke

        Or the numerous FREMM deployments….

        • PolicyWonk

          But we can’t let FACTS get in the way of rational discussion, can we? Otherwise it puts Duano-Laz out of business…

  • Lazarus

    What testimony and where? I know a number of LCS sailors. I know where they voice opinions.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      There are numerous articles that relate what crew members have reported about them. Because this site will not permit the listing of links (I wish they would explain that some time!), I will spell some out. On the online site breakingdefense dot com, dated 4/04/2014, there is an article titled “Sleepless In Singapore, LCS is Undermanned And Overworked, Says GAO”.

      Here is one ‘quote’ attributed to crew members by the GAO: “The core crew’s engineering department in particular told GAO they had
      no idea how they’d keep the ship going without help from the mission
      module’s engineers. But the module the Freedom took to Singapore, the “anti-surface
      warfare” module that includes several small boats, has many more
      engineers than the forthcoming mine-countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare modules.
      In fact, while the entire 19-sailor anti-surface module crew has skills
      useful in running the ship itself, the MCM crew has only four sailors
      who could help, and the ASW module only one. That means an LCS outfitted
      to hunt mines or subs would effectively be 15 to 18 sailors short —
      about 20 to 25 percent.”

      From the same site but dated Sept. 7, 2016, is an article titled “LCS Troubles May Stem From Double Engine”. It details how the speed requirement that were not really thought out has been perhaps THE biggest source of both designs problems. The crews cannot keep up with the workload.

      Check them out.

      • Lazarus

        That is GAO interpreting what some sailors might have said.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          That is the GAO REPORTING on what sailors told them. I get it that you and yours hate to read the truth, but there it is. Learn from it…

      • Al L.

        Also from first article:

        ” GAO admits at least some of the problems are first-time-out glitches that affect any new ship. The Navy upped the Freedom core crew from 40 to 50 at the last minute, for example, so the 10 new sailors came in unprepared and required as much training time during the deployment as the other 40 put together. The service is also improving the LCS training program, which the entire crew found wanting, though a complete reform will take two to three years.”

        From second article: “This diagnosis is only informed speculation on my part,” says the author and he quotes not a single person in the LCS command line let alone a crew member.

        Same old story: complain about LCS, find an example before lessons learned, cherry pick it, cite all the problems, ignore the countervailing info, claim this will be the permanent state.

        This could have been (and often was) done with more than half the ship classes adopted in the last 4 decades: FFG-7: scathingly criticized; DDG-51: “Always Broke” for years after intro (and still broke when the Navy poorly mans them as recently demonstrated); LPD-17: a nonstop crew draining maintenace nightmare for years after intro; Virginia class: probably spent at least first few years sailing around severely operationally degraded as acoustic panels peeled off and flapped in the breeze. ; Osprey class: mostly operationally useless for a decade, retired early: PC class: quickly proved useless for what it was designed for, Navy attempted to pass to CG. It goes on.

        If we canned every ship class that had intro problems we’d have half a Navy. If we cancelled every small ship class the Navy had intro problems with there would be no small ships. The Navy is bad at small ships because most of the Navy doesn’t care for or want them.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          Wow. Talk about ‘cherry picking’. The ‘informed speculation’ bit is indeed based on indisputable facts about the ships propulsion. There are plenty more sources that corroborate what is reported about the problems the LCS class has. Hate that all you want, I do not care. Yes, other classes have had problems, even serious ones, in their development. With the exception of the Osprey class you mentioned, NONE of the other classes had such development problems that have lasted as LONG as the LCS. The first LCS was commissioned in 2008 for Heaven’s sake. Then the Navy felt compelled out of embarrassment because of the ships lack of offensive firepower to play catch up. They built them to a commercial standard for survivability, and then had to play catch up with that. Burke’s aren’t ‘undermanned’ by way of design failures, they sail that
          way because the Navy is failing to provide enough sailors for them,
          period.Totally different situation.

          Agree that the Navy has a recent history of being bad at developing small ships. I wouldn’t classify the LCS as ;small’ by any standard other than the crew size, which appears to have been a design flaw. At least, so far. But the Navy is still scrambling to find answers for the LCS myriad of problems. Not least of which is the undeniable fact that an inordinate number of them will be devoted to training and testing ONLY. The first 4 are to be trainers and ‘technology demonstrators. Then 1 out of EVERY 4 will be devoted to the same thing. There are 28 planned so far (I think). That means that no less than 11 out of 28 will NOT be available for actual deployments. Do tell, what other class among those you mentioned as being so problem-ridden approximate those numbers?

          • Al L.

            “Informed speculation” by a journalist is not what you were citing. You said there were Navy personnel that dinged LCS and then you cited a journalist speculation. The implication is that’s the best you could come up with.

            There will now be at least 33 LCS, about 11 will be primarily for testing and training.(it is likely that if they deploy it will only be for a crisis or in SOUTHCOM) The purpose of the 11 back in the states is so the other 21 can spend extended time forward and not transit back and forth to the states every 5-7 months or waste training time on testing. In so doing the class will deliver about a 50% deployed rate in lieu of the 25%+- deployed rate typical of most the rest of the surface fleet. It has nothing to do with the “problems” of the class and everything to do with what the strategic purpose of the class is: to provide as much forward presence as is possible.

            This by the way is similar to the Avenger and PC classes: 3 of the 11 Avengers remain in San Diego for training and the rest are overseas. 3 of the 13 PCs are in Mayport, the rest in Bahrain. This provides greater forward operating time and reduced wear as it reduces or eliminates ocean transits.

            The “indisputable facts about the ships propulsion” are that their complexity is similar to other ship classes operating all over the world including the FREMM , Visby, Formidable, Valour, Daegu, Incheon. So far since the Navy has done a poor job of training & crewing, (as in adding 10 sailors at the last minute which had to be trained ON DEPLOYMENT) its not possible to tell if the stresses are due to a bad ship design, bad personnel management or flaws in the early ships.

            “NONE of the other classes had such development problems that have lasted as LONG as the LCS. ”

            Incorrect. You already agreed on the Osprey class, the LPD-17s had serious repetitive problems from before 2002 to as late as 2014 and the PC class was a failure at its planned mission (how much worse can a program get than to be rejected for the use it was built for ) We also have the 2 ongoing examples of the Ford and Zumwalt which seem to be interminable.

            I think you like many on this thread just dont have the right perspective.

            It takes the Navy on average about 18 years from the time a ship program is established to get the first ship deployed. It took 13 years for the Arleigh Burke under very favorable cold war funding and manning conditions. LCS-1 deployed 9 years after establishment and Fort worth the 3rd ship deployed after 13 years, during a period of irregular funding and other Navy problems. The Navy rushed the early LCS to service, poorly managed their builds, poorly coordinated the modules, and did an overall bad job managing these classes until recently. Its no wonder they’ve had problems operating. We are now 17 years into the program (1 less than the average for a FIRST deployment) with a pause in deployments to try to get the operational plan(including crewing) righted.
            If they come out of this pause next year and the same things happen all over then I’d say they might be doomed.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Again, here YOU are ‘cherry picking’ again. I cited TWO ARTICLES. You mentioned ONE instance of the author of one of them offering ‘informed speculation’ on ONE element of that article. But his ‘informed speculation’ is based on the actual RESEARCH he has conducted. The GAO reported that there are sailors who ‘dinged’ various aspects of the LCS. Did you even read BOTH articles? This wouldn’t have to be so thoroughly explained to someone who had done son, and could comprehend what those articles said!

            By your own totals, no less than 33% of the class will not be deployable due to testing/training. That bit about the others being able to be ‘forward deployed’ sounds good, IF they are deployable. Being marooned to piers isn’t anyone’s idea of being deployed.

            Other ‘points’ you render are irrelevant at best. So what about how long it takes to deploy a ship after the PROGRAM is established? It often takes years to do all the politicking and the designing and pre-build testing, and all that BEFORE a keel is ever laid. Your own examples of supposed failures, like the Burke, the San Antonio, the ‘PC’, etc. There are no significant numbers of any of those being devoted to ‘testing and training’ that can’t be deployed. No one argues that new ship designs encounter problems. But your own ‘failures’ as you put them sure are carrying on. The ‘failed PC’ has most of it’s units DEPLOYED overseas. The ‘failed LPD-17’ is now the basis for a follow on variant to replace existing LSDs. The ‘failed Avenger’ has most of its its overseas. The LCS couldn’t deploy ANY of their number this year. We keep getting the same promises that “this module or that one” will finally be operational, only to be told that “there were problems”.

            “The Navy rushed the early LCS to service, poorly managed their builds,
            poorly coordinated the modules, and did an overall bad job managing
            these classes until recently.”

            Duh! No kidding. It’s been mismanaged and a joke from the get-go. I don’t know where your contention comes fromthat the handling of the program has changed recently.. By the very words of its leading proponents, it sounds like the Navy is hoping that, at worst, these ships face nothing but Third World threats that can’t muster anything in the way of a real threat towards them. I’m pulling for the crews on these ships, and I have enormous faith in them. But I fear we are sending them into potentially harm’s way with at least one of their hands tied behind their backs.

  • Bubblehead

    I am still waiting for an answer from the LCS Loverboys; if the LCS can do half of what they say it can do, at a time the USN is absolutely begging for more hulls, are they also begging Congress not to fund anymore LCS?

    Of course there is only one logical exclamation. And that is why LCS Loverboys refuse to answer.

    • Lazarus

      LCS has deployed three times in a variety of mission roles. What else do you want?

      • PolicyWonk

        Wow. Three, count ’em! Deployed THREE whole times over decade? Well GLORY BE!!!!

        What else do we want? How about ships that deploy, patrol, and are able to carry out their missions?

        I think the real problem is that your expectations are so low an ant wouldn’t have to lift its legs to step over them.

        The rest of us expect a fighting naval ship to act and reliably perform as a naval fighting ship. Neither LCS class is capable of doing this. For that matter, they’ve been so far incapable of performing as a mere *merchant* ship does, by reliably propelling itself from one port to another on a regular basis.

        LCS would’ve discontinued by the second sea-frame in the commercial world because of the incompetence of their designers/builders.

        End of story. There is no way to make these steaming piles of flotsom smell like anything other than a dead fish.

        • Lazarus

          Of course none of what you said is remotely supported by the facts.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Has it deployed for either ASW or MCM? You remember – the reasons that we supposedly needed LCS?

  • Bubblehead

    The only thing the USN cannot afford is another ship that serves no purpose and cannot survive a fight.

  • Kypros

    I get it. No “fixed” decision has been made, but everyone is preemptively attacking that decision. The swamp stinks!

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Right. And how many deployments were originally scheduled for FY18?

    Plans and expectations have a habit of slipping where LCS is involved.

  • DaSaint

    Duane, are you also Lazarus?

  • DaSaint

    I don’t think it fair nor necessary to characterize people who may have differing opinions as ‘trolls’, ‘haters’, ‘liars’, or ‘polemicists’.

    It debases the conversation.

    We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

    • NavySubNuke

      But dont you know that anyone who disagrees with him is a paid troll?

      • DaSaint

        Then we’re all missing some checks!

  • DaSaint

    Duane, which LCS (#) is currently armed and deployed with NSM? How many rounds, and what fiscal year were they purchased?

    • PolicyWonk

      Sir,

      You’re (and the rest of us are) going to wait a LONG time for an answer that will never come. 😀

      • DaSaint

        I see that somewhere above he stated that the LCS ‘will be’ armed with NSM…

        Based upon my memory of English class, that signifies future tense as opposed to present tense. Guess that’s my non-answer.

  • Refguy

    Didn’t the Navy decide not to down select to one LCS because of excessive “Congressional Oversight?”

    • vetww2

      love that observation.

      • Refguy

        I’m honored to receive a comment from a member of the WWII generation. My father skipped his senior year in college to enroll in 90-day-wonder school in the Summer of ’41.

  • Ed L

    80 percent chance the LCS variant will not be chosen 40 percent chance it will be the Fremm or HII. I like the Fremm ASW version for its streamlined exposed deck No ground tackle out in the open Ability to mount anything from a 5 inch gun to a 50 caliber. No water jets or fancy propulsion drives.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Gee, after reading things like this report and many of the comments attached to this article, I sure miss the Perry class!

    • Curtis Conway

      They are either artificial reefs (after being a target) or doing REAL combat missions in our Allied Navies. I miss them too.

    • Kypros

      It’s too bad the navy decided against re-activating those 8-10 Perrys.

    • RunningBear

      The nearly 50yr. old FG-7 was due a retirement. This new frigate must be more systems compatible but much less expensive than the DDG-51…..and I will simply rant, an ASW focus of the LCS-2!
      🙂

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Much of the equipment that was on the Perry’s equip ships today, including the LCS! The Perry’s were retired early, after the decision was made to NOT maintain them and keep them upgraded and updated for today’s threats. In fact, the money that would have and should have gone to keeping the Perry’s viable went to the LCS, the Zumwalts, and the Fords. NONE of them are providing any positive return on the investment this country has made in them yet. That is fact.

        If the Navy was indeed smart, they would start with the Perry as the blueprint for any future frigate. The Perry’s had a magazine of 40 missiles, but were constructed before the VLS systems became available. Yet VLS has been back fitted in foreign variants of the Perry. They had a 76 MM gun, a Phalanx, the ability to carry and maintain 2 Seahawk helicopters, ASW torpedoes, and a 4500 mile unrefueled range. Imagine taking all that and adding the networking and sensors available today. Nothing new has to LOOK like the Perry, but approximating its capabilities should be THE starting point for future frigates..

        • vetww2

          WOW, you have cracked the code. May the powers that be, absorb your logic (unlikely) and buy a great version of a great design. There are many procedural items, like Configuration Control,that would furtheri mprove the buy.

        • Lazarus

          Like what; the MK92 FCS, retired. The MK13 GMLS, retired, CAS/STiR: retired. The Perry’s were ancient 20 years ago when I served on one. They were “low” end ships from the start and Navy rightly retired them.
          Rebuilds of Perry’s by other nations such as Australia and Turkey have been expensive and have not yielded good results. The Australian Perry’s appeared to have gotten 7-9 more years from their expensive rebuilds.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Oh gee, things like Harpoon missiles, Seahawk helicopters, LM-2500 gas turbines, etc. I am wrong that the LCS uses the RAST system, it was decided to outsource that equipment to a foreign manufacturer. The fact remains that the Perry, before they were allowed to deteriorate for lack of funding to maintain them, could run circles around the present incarnations of the LCS. I’ll give the LCS the edge in short ranged sprint speed, but for firepower it’s not even close.

            Yes, they were ‘low end ships’, by design. They were built to provide numbers to the fleet while being able to contribute across a number of critical warfare areas, specifically in ASW and ASuW. They were not gold plated pier queens like a certain class of ship today. The zealots (like yourself here Laz) who tout the LCS and its supposed ‘advanced combat systems and sensors) still cannot explain why their official advocates within the Navy have to admit that it’s not really for going in harm;s way. I don’t recall ever hearing that said about the Perry.

          • Lazarus

            The perry’s were only intended for 30 year life spans. Some of their equipment is still in use but much of it dates from tbe 1970’s and is no longer produced. That’s why the Navy rightly decided not to recommission any of tbe retired Perry’s. Just holes in the water to pour $$$ into with little return value.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I never mentioned ‘recommissioning’ anything. Heck, you’re as bad as Duane in your inability to follow a thread. Most of the Perry’s were decommissioned well before they reached the 30 year mark, and that was after they were gutted because of a lack of funding, which we all know was diverted to pie-in-the-sky schemes that STILL are not paying off like the LCS, the Zumwalts, and the Ford. They keep carriers around for 50 years, so keeping Perry’s running for 30 should have been no problem.

          • Lazarus

            If you had been in the Navy you might know that nuclear powered aircraft carriers get much better maintenance than do frigates. The sea in general is also much harder on small ships than larger ones.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            If you had LEARNED anything while you were in the Navy, you would know that NOTHING can be maintained when the money is prematurely pulled away from what needs to be maintained. Money was pulled from functioning vessels that performed magnificently to pay for boondoggles that STILL are not delivering despite the massive investment made in them by the taxpayers. The ‘sea’ had nothing to do with the decision to TAKE the money away from the Perrys’. So was it your time in the Navy where you learned to LIE so effortlessly?

            Hmmm?

  • Robbie Roberts

    My apologies if this is true, which I would have to accept as a given since I have no solid basis for this suspicion. Despite being knowledgeable, your biases are difficult to comprehend on so many of the technical matters, but on others, like geo-political matters as an example, I see nothing that has any disjoint tone to them.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Ok. That doesn’t answer the question.

  • NavySubNuke

    Sorry diane but repeating a lie over and over doesnt make it true. It just makes you and ignorant fool.

  • NavySubNuke

    Another lie, shocking….

  • Curtis Conway

    “They are a pestilence…”. I cannot sufficiently express the levity enjoyed by reading this string of comments!

  • Curtis Conway

    The fact that both Japan & South Korea have developed advanced frigate or small destroyer designs, that have integrated technology compatible with U.S. requirements, and both also have longstanding experience in shipbuilding, to date neither have been included in the competition, but should be forthwith. Both Japan & South Korea have ready designs that are EXACTLY what we are looking for in our new FFG(X). It has been stated in numerous places that the FFG(X) cost and capabilities as proposed resembles many of our Allies FFG/DDGs . . . yet the most capable built to near, if not exact US Navy standards, are not represented in the competition.

    • vetww2

      The Spanish F81 class, derived from our Perry class frigate is faster (with the same power), more heavily armed and does a great job, The excellant hull design needs only up to date equipment to be an economical approach for our new FFG.

  • Ed L

    I always like the South Korean Incheon FFGX built to fight
    Length: 114 m (374 ft). Beam:14 m (46 ft). Draft: 4 m (13 ft)
    Propulsion: CODOG
    2 × MTU 12V 1163 TB83 diesel engine
    2 × GE LM2500 gas turbine[1]
    Speed:
    30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (max)
    18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (cruising)
    Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,000 km). Complement: 140
    Sensors and
    processing systems:
    SPS-550K air search 3D radar
    SPG-540K fire control radar
    SQS-240K hull-mounted sonar
    SAQ-540K EOTS
    Hanwha Systems IRSTs
    Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System
    Electronic warfare
    & decoys:
    LIG Nex1 SLQ-200(V)K Sonata electronic warfare suite
    SLQ-261K torpedo acoustic counter measures
    KDAGAIE Mk2 decoy launchers
    Armament:
    1 × 5 inch Mk-45 Mod 4 (127mm/L62) naval gun
    1 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
    2 × 3 K745 LW Blue Shark torpedoes
    Missiles:
    Batch I:
    1 × RAM Block 1 (21 round launcher)
    2 × 4 SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles
    2 × 4 Haeseong Tactical Land Attack Missiles
    Batch II:
    16 cell K-VLS
    Haegung K-SAAM (4 per cell)
    Haeseong Tactical Land Attack Missiles (vertical launch)
    Hong Sang Eo anti-submarine missiles
    2 × 4 SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles
    Aircraft carried:
    Super Lynx or AW159

  • Ed L

    Then there is the South Korean Gumdoksuri class patrol vessel. Which is a Surface Combatant that could take down two LCS’s. A real fighter at 570 tonnes (561 long tons). Length: 63 m (206 ft 8 in)
    Beam: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
    Draft: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
    Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas (CODAG). 2 × Hanwha Techwin/GE LM500[2] gas turbine 4,570 kW (6,130 hp) 2 × Doosan/MTU 12V 595 TE90[3]3,240 kW (4,340 hp) (711)
    2 × STX/MTU 16V 1163 TB93[4] 5,920 kW (7,940 hp) (712~733)
    3 × Doosan Heavy Industries waterjets[5]
    Speed:
    44 knots (81 km/h; 51 mph)
    Range:
    1,998 nmi (3,700 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
    Complement: 40
    Sensors and processing systems:
    STX RadarSys SPS-100K surface search radar
    LIG Nex1 SPS-540K 3D surveillance radar
    Saab CEROS 200 Fire Control Radar and optronic sight
    Hanwha systems electro-optical targeting system Electronic warfare
    & decoys: 2 × S&T Dynamics KDAGAIE Mk 2 chaff/flare dispenser. LIG Nex1 Sonata SLQ-200(V)K ECM/ECCM suite
    Armament: Hyundai Wia (after 3rd ship) 76mm gun S&T Dynamics ‘No Bong’ 40L/70K dual 40mm gun 4 ×LIG Nex1 SSM-700K Hae Sung anti-ship subsonic speed missile LIG Nex1 Chiron MANPADS 2 ×S&T Dynamics K6 12.7 mm machine gun

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Duane/Lazarus – given your assertion that the Navy is completely satisfied with LCS, it seems a bit odd that Congress has to force the Navy to buy additional hulls.

    “There’s a discussion right now on whether or not we add some additional littoral combat ships. … And there’s a really healthy and positive debate on that,” (OMB Director Mick) Mulvaney said. “Here’s one of the issues: the Navy doesn’t want them,” he said, referring to the Navy’s drive to get away from LCS and to a more lethal frigate.”

    Ref: “The Littoral Combat Ship Program Again Draws White House Ire.” Navy Times, August 18 2018.

    • Lazarus

      It is interesting how Trump admin officials get used by people when their opinions appear to conform. Mulvaney is one guy; and an OMB and not a Navy person.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        The OMB director is saying the Navy didn’t want more LCS. Are you disputing that assertion?

        • Lazarus

          I’m saying he’s one guy with one opinion. There are others. No one would normally care but it’s LCS so it’s a headline.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            He’s one guy with a somewhat important opinion. The OMB director has a lot of influence.

          • Lazarus

            Not really. The Navy has dealt with hostile OMB folks like Randy Jayne in the past.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Hostile? I think you’ve got it backwards.

            Navy leadership doesn’t want any more LCS. Yet Congress put an additional (unrequested) LCS in the FY19 Defense Appropriations Bill. Mulvaney is simply pointing this out.

            I’d say Congress is being hostile to the Navy by forcing it to buy ships it does not want. Not OMB.

          • Lazarus

            Mulvaney does not necessarily represent Navy opinion

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            “There’s a discussion right now on whether or not we add some additional littoral combat ships. … And there’s a really healthy and positive debate on that,” Mulvaney said. “Here’s one of the issues: the Navy doesn’t want them,” he said, referring to the Navy’s drive to get away from LCS and to a more lethal frigate.

            *****

            The Navy’s opinion seems pretty evident to the author. Move on from LCS as fast as possible.

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Repost of earlier comment due to its deletion through Captain Queeg.

    Arleigh Burke Frigate Escort
    ———————————–=

    Hull: Approx.$250-300M, established shipyard production lines, new smaller hull saves no net money and removes options
    Approx.$700M, outfitted for a DDG crew of 300 (no espresso machines)
    Approx.$550M, outfitted for a FFG crew of 150 or less (with snow cone makers)

    DDG: 4 x LM2500: $40M/20 tons/32 knots/4770nm range
    3 x AG9160 4MW turbine-generators: $7.5M
    FFG: 4 X 10MW diesels with AG9160 (Flight III) or other electrical generator sections. $20M/120 tons/27 knots/8000nm+
    Clutched in electric motors of up to 5MW each, reduction gear stage eliminated with diesels
    Significantly lower fuel consumption, greater range for detached operations, lower infrared signature

    DDG: SPY-6 AMDR: $300M per set
    FFG: SPY-X: $60M per set (10% mid-range power radars, AN/APG-81 or SPY-6 gallium arsenide or nitride modules)

    Aegis Baseline 9: AMDR DDG’s
    COMBATSS-21HF:
    (Aegis derived battle management system optimized for a heavy frigate, common baseline with LCS coastal corvettes)
    No AN/SPG-62,AN/SPS-67/73 or their installation costs, soft and synthetic integration with Phalanx sensors that remain capable of independent operation.
    Exact savings difficult to determine given lack of exact details and full costing, but likely over $100M in installed cost savings.

    DDG: 90 Strike Length VLS cells – $50M
    FFG: 12 Strike Length VLS cells – $7M

    Missiles:
    DDG SM3 $20.M x 8 = $160M
    SM2 $2.5M x 32 = 80
    ESSM $1.0M x 48 = 48
    LACM $1.5M x 32 = 48
    ASROC $1.0M x 6 = 6
    (126 Weapons) Total = $358M

    FFG SM-4/6 $4M x 6 = $24M (SM-4 is a notional dual capable rocket ramjet SM-6 with a 500lb warhead)
    ESSM $1M x 24 = 24
    SEARAM $1M x 20 = 20
    SEAFIRE $135K x 44 = 6 (Hellfire guidance on RIM-116 missile body, 24 mounted, 20 stowed)
    (50 Anti-Air, 50 Anti-Surface)$74M

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      Additional:
      Fore and aft 30mm Goalkeeper Phalanx on 5″ gun or other suitable turret rings fore and aft also acting as mounting for 2x2x11 SEARAM/SEAFIRE units; replaces DDG 20mm Phalanx CIWS and Mk45 Model 4 5″/L62 gun & magazine forward. Additional SEAFIRE (and/or SEARAM) rounds stowed in 5″ magazine space with a Mk.45 component derived conveyor strikedown and manual handling at both ends.
      Later evolved 30mm system projectiles with low cost orientation INS sensor chips and propellant microcharge driven surface spring flaps could give rounds reliable hit ratio grouping coarse correction through computed system control, allowing twice the engagements at twice the range and higher lethality per target over the 20mm weapon by generating a 2mil/100 or better accuracy, giving firepower (mathematically) equal to 16 or more 20mm weapons, as well as far side self-destruct/tumbledown to avoid accidental or combat friendly fire casualties. Destroyers and cruisers would leverage the strengthening of the Mk.45 Model 4 system for the over pressure 18MJ 5″ ERGM round to mount an 18MJ titanium 155mm/L62 high pressure gun to allow the use of 25lb (75lb complete round, possibly lightened) anti-missile HVP/GLGP at
      1800m/s and 20 rounds per minute, water or CO2 cooled guns possibly increasing short duration rate of fire to 40-60 per minute despite some reliability, design, cost, and weight drawbacks (requires an increased speed loader and ready round drum). The aft 30mm Phalanx with or without SEARAM would be retained for the 7th hard layer of defense best suited to defeating extra long range field artillery shells that could be encountered far off shore in the future.

      • SierraSierraQuebec

        On the basis of easily obtained costs, the frigate is $800M less than the $1.8B DDG and meets the $950M baseline, and this does not include the installed cost of many major sensor, communications, and electronics on the completed ship for which reliable cost data is either not available or difficult to obtain as complete open source material. An extended analysis would find at least many millions more in reductions, since the independent mission needs are less demanding as well as redundant when the frigate would be attached to a battlegroup, so many are not needed for either scenario. The Arleigh Burke destroyer is an efficient serial produced warship, but a large part of its cost is tied to the long range air detection, tracking, and missilery mission which when reduced to a 4+ layer horizon range frigate escort suite the ship costs a fraction of the original. Rather than opting for the FREMM class of 18 ships in 4 versions, the F100 class of 8 ships in 2 versions, or the NSC class of 0 ships in no warship version, taking the opposite route previously with the Spruance class upgraded to the Ticonderoga class with 58 ships in total produced and making deliberate effort to keep manning levels and operating cost down (that was the cause of the early retirement of the Spruance destroyers), extending the Arleigh Burke class from 77 built or authorized to beyond 100 ships and making it the second largest class of destroyers the navy has ever built makes this an easy decision. Starting a new shipyard production line for just twenty unique warships requiring a litany of re-design efforts is unwise and has never failed to be costly and difficult in the past, whereas an ASW escort frigate of the Arleigh Burke class could commission by 2022.

  • Lazarus

    There were lots of problems with the first two LCS but they were built with experimental $$$ so perhaps not surprising. Corrosion control fixes in LCS were not terribly expensive. Speed actually has great value as anyone who has operated at sea can attest. Being able to transit at 30 kts vice 25 for example adds advantage over time in situations such as helo launch/recovery, getting to a weapon launch point, or opening an opponent’s are of uncertainty in targeting. That is the advantage of speed. No one ever suggested that the speed was to outrun anything. That is the hobbyist’s idea. LCS actually is very fuel efficient and quiet at slow speeds as well.