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 Oct. 22, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

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 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; and
    whether the initiation of the FFG(X) program has any implications for required numbers or capabilities of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers.

  • PolicyWonk

    “…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)…”
    ==============================================
    It won’t be hard for FFG(X) to be more heavily armed, given the woefully weak LCS (compared to near-peer or peer navies ships of similar, or even half the tonnage). My vote is for FREMM, but there are other acceptable options (excluding options based on either LCS variant, which clearly never should’ve passed design review).

    The most expensive ship(s) in the inventory are those that aren’t delivering value/ROI, and are taking up valuable pier/dry-dock space, sailors, and maintenance funds from ships designed to be war-fighting assets.

    Unfortunately, USC PEO has demonstrated a willingness to double-down on tragic error when they were LCS PEO (taxpayers be damned), and history indicates the odds are in favor of being stuck with an FFG derived from one of the two inadequate (to be generous) LCS “designs”.

    My expectations are therefore set very low.

    • Lazarus

      When will you understand that PEO USC is not some evil organization bent on saddling the nation with poor equipment. PEO’s build what they are told to build and do not advocate for any one design over another.
      FREMM is already $1b plus as built by a govt-owned/controlled French shipyard. A monopsony US govt/defense contractor shipbuilding annex will be even more costly.
      You really need to do some more research before posting this sort of uninformed gibberish over and over!

      • PolicyWonk

        I’ll start to believe it when they start demonstrating competence, by taking actions that provide value to the taxpayers and US national security.

        My “uninformed gibberish”, as you call it, has lamentably turned out to be all too true: every independent auditing agency the USA has, has issued uniformly scathing reports on the LCS program (design, construction, related programs, and costs), and even the USN had to call it quits and cancel the program well before its “goal” of 52 sea-frames.

        Hardly “uninformed gibberish”…

        • Lazarus

          You don’t seem to have a clue how NAVSEA operated and hence uninformed gibberish. GAO and Defense IG criticize everything; it’s how they stay in business.

      • thebard3

        Sorry, Lazarus, but I have missed the meaning of ‘PEO’ and ‘USC’. Your point is well taken, and I think it should be noted that whatever platform is chosen, the ultimate decision is left to elected officials, and not ‘the Navy’ per se. I read this report, and it doesn’t really look any different from the last one from a few months ago. I think maybe it takes that long for some of our congresspeople to get the idea (or miss it entirely).

        • Lazarus

          Program Executive Office for Unmanned Systems and small Combatants. Agree this report differs little from the last and that lawmakers will choose.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Speaking of cost: I wonder what reconfiguring the LCS-1 from water jet to traditional twin-screw is going to cost. Doesn’t seem like a minor change.

        • Lazarus

          I fully agree. It may be enough of a change to equate to a clean sheet design; not something the Navy wants for FFGX.

          • leesea

            to be accurate, “substantive changes” (contracting) term requires a new contract per the DAR

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            It is interesting that LM would propose this. Seems risky.

        • leesea

          ALL changes cost MORE? Changing anything in the propulsion system probably cost the MOST?

        • Rocco

          Major….. They don’t want the machinery rooms near each other which is domb because this can cause an imbalance!

      • leesea

        Laz, Well most folks miss the hierarchy. OPNAV defines the rqmts, NAVSEA PEO writes the specifications to support those rqmts. And also performs the contracting officers duties and all those voluminous regs. After an AoA is done, NAVSEA dreams up a cost estimate which is presented to Congress for funding.

        So really it a there part – something deleted

    • NavySubNuke

      Agreed —- it certainly appears the fix is in and the navy will make the easy choice by selecting one of the failed LCS variants as FFG(X).
      That said I still hold out hope that the Navy will do the right thing and procure a frigate that is actually capable of deploying and meeting the needs of the Nation.

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        I agree wholeheartedly. The Grand Admiral suggested as far back as a year ago that LM had already “won” and it seems like that could be the truth. This is interesting. All that F-35 money could pay a *ton* of bribes and an Ohio-class tonnage worth of “lobbying money” …. I want the FREMM, think that the HII NSC-FFG could be awesome, and could support the F-100 Mini-Aegis… but the two LCS ships would be literally a national military tragedy. Literally. And it does SPECIFICALLY look like the fix is in. Increasingly with each “Congressional FFG(X) report”.

        • NavySubNuke

          Agree – FREMM stands head and shoulders above the other options in my mind. The base hull form is already in serial production and the ships that have been produced (admittedly to European standards and with European HM&E) are successfully on deployment right now and have proven themselves to be a capable strike platform in combat operations against Syria.
          HII NSC-FFG would also be a good option. The F-100 is certainly a better idea than either up-gunned LCS variant but I share your reservations.

        • NavySubNuke

          Thats ok, on another thread on Breaking Defense the grand bathtub admiral said: “INF bans intermediate range nukes ballistic missiles (not cruise missiles), and any missiles that could be confused as nuke IRBMs”
          Poor guy really has no idea what he is talking about — the only thing he is actually good at is flagging people’s posts to get them deleted. Although it looks like someone else got fed up and nuked all his posts here. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy 😉

      • vetww2

        Maybe not. I heard that the Navy may return to an open mind. But we shall see.

        • Rocco

          You mean transgender??

          • Secundius

            With enlistment at less than 0.001%, you take what you can get…

          • Rocco

            Lol….At sea sailors get….🤔🤐

      • Secundius

        The “Littoral” concept was born in 1934 by the US Navy, but because of the Depression were never funded. But in WWII it made a Comeback as the “Cargo Destroyers”. “Wilkes” class and “Clemson” class were Prime Movers for the job, but at least FIVE “Charles F. Sumner” class Destroyers were also Tasked for the Job (i.e. DD/APD-19, USS “Tattnall”, being one of them). Consider what a Stripped Down “Arleigh Burke” could accomplish as a converted Cargo Hauler)…

        • Rocco

          Agreed… Interesting

      • Rocco

        They better because if it doesn’t happen we will be the laughing stock of admirals barge!!

      • vetww2

        You and PolicyWonk are absolutely CORRECT. Ignore DUANE, he seems to be a zealot.
        1, The ORIGINAL concept, which I have cited many times, was developed, by my SEA003 crew, in 1978, as SEAMOD.
        2. When a group of retired SUCCSSFUL advanced ship developers
        (hydrofoil, SES, SWATH, LCAC) offerred NAVSEA 05 to form a PRO BONO Tiger team to scrub the RFP and, later the proposals, they were turned down.
        3. SES, Hydrofoils and SWATH were immediately eliminated. The only somewhat original idea to make it through was trimarran.
        4. The RFP was so bad that only the “inside track” bidders were even considered.
        5. The SOW was so contorted that the interchangeability features and modules could not be developeded. A new project had to be started to develop them, so the ship build could start.
        6. The resulting fiasco should end. Too bad, if it continues into the FFG(X) procurement.
        7. The Germans, using our original specs produced an effective class (MEKO)

        • NavySubNuke

          Thanks for the input, it really is amazing how bad the Navy screwed it up and how long the screw up was allowed to continue. I pay attention to Duane only for his entertainment value. He is an ignorant fool with no idea what he is talking about.

          • vetww2

            The “Tiger Team” group I spoke of has innundated NAVSEA with constructive comments, to no avail (or in most cases, responses.) I guess they figure (correctly) that they can outlive us; 4 of the 7 are gone (i’m 91and don’t buy green bananas), You younger folks have to keep it up for the good of the Navy and the country.

    • ElmCityAle

      If the defined mission requirements for LCS included peer anti surface combat, the weapons systems to support that mission would have been included. There are already announced plans to add NSM/Harpoon tubes. Your fight is with those defined requirements, not the implementation of them. I think there are legitimate criticisms of the program, but the peer-to-peer point isn’t one of them.

      • PolicyWonk

        The problem with LCS is FAR worse that merely peer-to-peer anti-surface, though I cannot imagine why anyone would want to buy a ship that cannot defend itself: the USN and/or LCS PEO only added/included NSM/Harpoon after enduring many months of ridicule.

        The “littoral combat ship”, according to former CNO Greenert, was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”. Nor did LCS PEO consult NECC for requirements gathering, or include any requirement that might’ve been derived from the hard-won lessons of littoral combat. The only feature, requirement, or remaining indication of the “street fighter” concept authored by ONR that the LCS program was derived from, is the term “littoral combat ship”: if it had been designated “hyper-expensive commercial-grade utility boat with minor defensive capability” (which is what LCS turned out to be), it never would’ve received funding and would be otherwise unrecognizable from the original program.

        Bottom line: after blowing $36B, the USN will still be without a littoral combat platform.

        • ElmCityAle

          That favorite quote of yours is one comment. As discussed previously in the near-weekly LCS debates, there are plenty of missions for LCS which don’t require peer combat. More missions will be possible as various components/modules come online (yes – they’ve taken longer than expected).

          • PolicyWonk

            I agree: There are certainly missions that can be performed that don’t require combat at any level – let alone any potential peer entanglements. We currently have a Burke doing fishery patrols in Micronesia – a theoretically ideal mission for the LCS. The work being done in the Persian Gulf by the PC’s – all missions LCS should be able to handle.

            That said, LCS has conducted a whopping 3 (+/-) presence missions since its first commissioning 10 years ago, and they don’t require much more than the very basic SUW mission package (if even that) to conduct them. The mission packages have taken a painfully long time, and by the time any of them are truly fielded (well…deployed) a large percentage of LCS sea-frames will have been through midlife upgrades.

            But lets be clear: battles/fights don’t necessarily start at a time/place of your choosing, and ships carrying the USS designation should (IMHO) be prepared for trouble wherever they go. And in the case with LCS, even at its best its ill prepared. LCS sea frames are very expensive given the small ROI, and we could’ve purchased vastly simpler ships at a fraction of the price to conduct presence missions. The US taxpayers/HoRs were cheated into paying for warships – and LCS is only a warship in name: it does not meet that designation in design or construction.

    • Rocco

      I don’t see the need we have the Berk class. Unless we build a Perry class ship with a little more fortitude .

      • PolicyWonk

        The Burkes are not shallow water boats – but with the newly invented “Box o’ Hellfires” (BoH) bolted to their deck, they could protect themselves and nearby vessels from attacks from swarming speedboats (one of the big jobs for LCS). And of course, the BoH could (and should) be mounted on anything designated USS or USNS for added protection, IMO.

        ONR conjured up the “street fighter” concept in 2001, which determined a need for a littoral combat platform. They envisioned a $92M sea-frame, heavily armed and fast, for combat in littoral regions. Once PEO LCS got their mitts on the money, they turned it into a “Franken-ship” costing 10X as much, armed them with enough firepower to be considered a joke, made them sufficiently complex to be unreliable/dangerous, designed/built them to commercial (as opposed to military) standards, and named them “littoral combat ship” because calling them “overpriced utility boat” would’ve ensured zero funding.

        $36B spent – still no littoral combat platform.

        • Rocco

          Agreed!!…… Hey I watch the last ship…. Does this make me an expert like Duane?? Lol

          • PolicyWonk

            Rocco –

            You are FAR more an expert than Duane will ever be – though once in a while he actually posts something useful (at least, when he’s not accusing someone of being a troll, or my personal favorite – someone who “hates ships” ;-D).

            Go figure!

          • Rocco

            Thanks bro!

      • Secundius

        I recall seeing a Concept Picture of the “OHP” with the Forward Missile Launcher replaced with a Mk.45 5-inch Gun Mount. Supplemented with the M.75 3-inch Gun Mount. As a Dual-Purpose Gun Fire Support Ship and Convoy Escort…

        • Rocco

          I wish they did retrofit them like that. Instead of the Bushmaster gun!!

    • vetww2

      I am afraid that either I am out in Left Field (it happened before), when I advocated for SES, PHM. AALC, now LCAC and SWATH) Also Against V-22, DD1000. and LCS and reactivating the 4 BBs.
      My point is that this report and most of the contributions, while pertinent to the designs, IGNORE the main problem, as I see it of The geopolitical and mission change problems, which ARE NOT ADDRESSED

      • Secundius

        What people keep forgetting is that “USNI News” is a Private Forum, with US Naval Credentials! In other words, “Not to be taken seriously”! We could discuss 24/7/365 until “He|| freezes over”, and nobody outside this Discussion Forum is going to Listen and/or take any ideas seriously…

        • Rocco

          Kudos…… They do what they want.

        • vetww2

          Fortunately, I have resources within Navy. As a result the DD1000 buy was cut to 3 ships, (the already laid keels), ended the reactivation of the BBs and got the truth told about the V-22.

    • vetww2

      I got an input , tonite, that the Navy is reconsidering the use of the LCS as a baseline, We will see, in the nexrt few days if she is correct/

    • vetww2

      VERY WELL stated. Please see my comment, below.

    • vetww2

      I think the “How we got here” squib that I wrote(and was consigned to the nether regions of this posting) is really worth reading for folks who are interested in the truth and history.

  • vetww2

    Travesty added to another travesty. Navy, taking advantage of Prez Trump’s “rebuild the armed forces” has, once again crashed into a program that does not recognize the tremendous change in the political and geophysical needs of the new world plitical environment. The report is reminiscent of those written in the depths of the US/USSR COLD WAR. Not one word acknowledgiing the changes.
    The only thing in favor of this shambles of a report is its weak acknowledgement of the failure of the LCS program to provide any added capability to the Navy.

    • RunningBear

      “LCS program to provide any added capability to the Navy.”, …how can LCS add capability when the mission modules have yet to be delivered for testing? The only capability LCS does have is in ship operations with basic infrastructure and flying the flag. So far they have wrecked several of the propulsion systems transfer gear boxes and leaked a couple of water exchangers but other than that, a lot of boating going on!
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • David B. Brown

    Maybe a Perry re-run with VLS? Good hull, sturdy, seemed to work. Just sayin’…

    • The Perry was a poor design back in 1975, building more in 2020 is not the solution.

      • Lazarus

        And it was beat up by GAO then as much as LCS is now. The internet allows for much more visibility of all of this process.

      • Rocco

        You have no idea what your talking about!! Ever see how long it takes to sink one!!! You

      • Secundius

        As I remember FFG-31, USS Stark got hit by Two French-made “Exocet” Missiles in 1999. With a Little Help (i.e. Repairs) from a Destroyer Tender, was able to return to Port under her “Own Power”

        • Rocco

          And if it was an LCS it would of sunk!!

          • Secundius

            As I recall, “Swift” under UAE livery was hit by a Yemenese Chinese-made C-802 Missile. And “Didn’t” sink! ALL Aluminum construction, lost two of a crew of 36 and was still able to return to Home Port unassisted…

          • Rocco

            Yup!! The remaining ships the Navy don’t sell are to be sunk as target practice. Last year it took 12 hrs to sink…I forget the name lol, with everything we could throw at it including a B-52!! Couldn’t sink her with a cruise missile.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, the UAE sent the “Swift” to a Greek Shipyard to be repaired…

          • Rocco

            in Crete I believe. We also stopped there before we went to Beirut Lebanon to lay down some led!!

          • Secundius

            Not Crete, but near Athens at the Elefsis Shipyards in West Attica, Greece…

          • Rocco

            Copy

        • Yes, the Perry’s were reasonably durable (though it would likely have been a different matter if Stark had taken those hits in the middle of the Atlantic) – the problem was that their combat systems were simply inadequate and Stark’s crew never realized they were under attack until seconds before the missiles hit.

          • Rocco

            That’s horse crap!! If they were in open water the crew would of been on alert & prepared for water tight integrity & GQ!!

          • Secundius

            That’s because the Iraqi’s got Clever as how to Attack the “Stark”! Not that the Stark’s Electronics weren’t capable. The Iraqi’s modified a Dassault Falcon 50 Business Jet with Under-Wing Hard Points, and flew the plane as a Business Flight using Commercial Air Route of operations. Stark wasn’t tracking Civilian Aircraft’s, because of the USS “Vincennes”/ Iran Air 655 Incident of July 1988. They (i.e. “Stark”) got caught Off-Guard by a simple clever trick…

          • What in the world are you talking about? The Iraqi’s used a Mirage F1 and flew the same exact pattern they had been using for some time to attack Iranian tankers. Stark was tracking the Mirage the entire time and issued multiple warnings to the fighter but her radars completely failed to detect the missile launch so no countermeasures were activated. The Vincennes incident occurred 10 months later so unless the Stark crew were time travelers that could not have influenced them in any way.

          • Secundius

            That was the US Navy’s Official Record of the Incident. But that wasn’t the Type of Aircraft that attacked the USS Stark…

          • Any proof at all for this assertion (or that the Perry crew were time travelers)?

          • Secundius

            Near the Bottom of the Page…

            ( https : // warisboring . com / in – 1987 – a – secret – iraqi – warplane – struck – an – american – frigate – and – killed – 37 – sailors / )

          • Interesting – but even if the entirely unsourced claim that a modified Falcon 50 fired the missiles is true, all it means is that Stark misidentified the plane (which would actually support my original point that her combat systems were inadequate). Everything thing else is the same as the official USN account.

          • Secundius

            And IF the Falcon 50 was Flying a Commercial Flight Plan and NOT a Military one, Then What. “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough”…

          • Stark was tracking with radar and ESM an airplane that was using a Cyrano radar. That plane was either a Mirage F1 or possibly a modified Falcon 50. The only way your Falcon 50 was “flying a civilian flight plan” and wasn’t tracked because of it is if there was a second Iraqi plane that was being tracked – in which case what was the second plane doing?

          • Secundius

            The Iraqi Falcon 50 was Modified by the French per Iraqi request of the modifications as a Training Aircraft. As I recall it was even mentioned in the article. As for the Second Aircraft, possibly as part of the Training Rouse (i.e. Cover-UP). Or as a Second Attack Aircraft if the Rouse failed. Or just maybe to record the event…

          • Rocco

            Seriously!!

      • Rocco

        Because you were never aboard one so you don’t know what your talking about. Try & sink one!! Then sink an LCS …..See which goes down in a NY min!!

        • PolicyWonk

          Rocco,

          The requirement for LCS was that the ship should be sufficiently robust for the crew to abandon it before it sinks.

          And I wish that was a joke…

          Hardly inspiring if you ask me. Can you imagine what the USN’s recruiting numbers would be like if the marketing campaign was “Join the US Navy – our ships are designed to sink slowly enough so you stand a chance of abandoning if hit in battle…”.

          • Rocco

            Yeah….. Like you might see the world!!…..By air only!! 🤔

    • Rocco

      Yes agreed. I’ve been on a few down in Mayport

  • Ryan Tomlinson

    Wow are they really thinking of having the lcs yards still build their ffg x even if they lose the competition just a smaller number than the winner of the competition. Read last paragraph pg 14. How can they even comtemplate doing that. How are we gonna support 4 different models of SSC.

    • Ryan Tomlinson

      I have a feeling we are gonna build 2 models of ffg just like the LCS.

      • DaSaint

        Not happening again.

    • Kypros

      That’s how I read it.

    • RunningBear

      USN DDG Arleigh Burke Flight IIA is built by both Ingalls and Bath yards, no problemo!

      Fly Navy
      🙂

    • NavySubNuke

      If you spread the wealth to more congressional districts you have a better chance to get your program funded.
      That is why the Navy made the cowardly decision to buy both under performing LCS hull forms rather than down selecting and as a result doubled the cost of the sustainment and training tails.
      If we down select to a single design having two shipyards build it is actually fine — as long as we are smart enough to down select!! Virginia SSNs and Arliegh Burke DDGs are both built in two different yards successfully.
      FYI this is nothing new — look at how the original Frigates of the US Navy (including USS Constitution) were built — all in different shipyards to spread the pork all around. Even then it was recognized that this would create more problems while at the same time creating more support for the effort. (As an aside: Ian Toll’s Six Frigates is a great read if you are interested in learning more about this period and the founding of our Navy).

      • Ryan Tomlinson

        I have no problem with multiple yards building the same design but in the report it says Navy is thinking of letting the LCS yards build their own design even if they lose the competition. Maybe my reading comprehension is out of wack.

      • PolicyWonk

        FYI this is nothing new — look at how the original Frigates of the US Navy (including USS Constitution) were built — all in different shipyards to spread the pork all around.
        ====================================
        The work was also spread around due to the realization that the nation was is serious danger, and building those frigates in parallel was one way to speed delivery.

        • NavySubNuke

          Do you have a source on that? I have never heard that mentioned before and it is definitely not included in Six Frigates.

        • Rocco

          Also as not to have one yard get taken out of action

  • DaSaint

    I will keep being that lone individual hoping that at the end of this long saga, the USN selects a variant of the Type 26 Frigate, already selected by the UK, Australia, and now Canada!

    🙂

    • Ryan Tomlinson

      I would be all for a US spec Type 26. I have a feeling that’s what Ingalls is up to. We need an ASW specialist that can defend itself from air attack.

  • DaSaint

    First, there were five (5) designs selected. See page 7. (BTW, for all we know Ingalls could have partnered with BAE to offer the Type 26. It’s curious that Ingalls hasn’t displayed a model or rendering of their submission. We all expect it to be an NSC variant, or maybe even a Burke variant, but who knows! Also, BIW owns the original rights to the Burke, I think, so not even sure Ingalls could offer a variant. Dunno)

    Second, they were selected for CONCEPTUAL design contracts. See page 7.

    Third, the RFP is expected to be released Q4 FY2019, and a detail design and construction contract (DD&C) awarded in FY2020. See page 9.

    Fourth ‘being a recipient of a conceptual design contract is NOT (my emphasis) a requirement for competing for the DD&C contract’. See page 9.

    Finally, thanks for reminding me to check my Mega Millions ticket.

  • DaSaint

    So why are they stopping production?

    • Stopping production after 34 ships, making it the second largest class of modern western warships (after the Burkes). That doesn’t sound like the Navy doesn’t like them to me. LCS fills a particular niche and the recent reorientation of US national strategy has deprioritized that niche. If we were still facing the threats of the early 2000’s we would probably be building more.

      • DaSaint

        Um, technically, the Navy wanted the program truncated at 32, but it’s Congress that’s pushed for another 2.
        They will start to have some real value next year, when they receive their NSMs. Until then, there are not enough completed weapons modules to go around.

        • Rocco

          Yes to keep people employed ! But build junk anyway!

      • Lazarus

        The budget problem has not improved; that’s why only 20 FFGX have been suggested and given their potential for higher cost perhaps not even 20. The US cannot build billion dollar frigates.

        • PolicyWonk

          So, by this logic, you’re saying the USA can afford to build useless, commercial grade LCS at $920M each, but can’t spend $1B on a frigate that delivers clear value for money spent?

          You’re not helping yourself…

    • leesea

      Program has been truncated, production continues on ships under contract

      • DaSaint

        Yes, I know. And Congress forced a couple more down the Navy’s throat. Let’s see if it stops at 34. Any delay in the FFG(X) program may prompt Congress to keep adding a couple at a time.

  • NavySubNuke

    Certainly FFG(x) is supposed to be downselected to a single award.
    But, LCS was also supposed to be a single design. Out of cowardice Mabus refused to down select and instead moved forward with both hull forms and doubled the size of the logistics support and training pipelines.
    Hopefully the Navy has learned from that disastrous decision and will make a down select here but God only knows what they will actually do.

  • DaSaint

    Marinette builds in steel. Austal USA in aluminum. It isn’t that easy to make the switch as it’s a completely different proficiency in terms of welding.

    I know the parent Austal yards in Australia and in the Philippines build both aluminum and steel, so it’s certainly not impossible, but the Austal USA yard would have to retrain completely and quickly – no easy task. To date, the Austal USA yard has not built a single steel-hulled vessel.

    Just thought of something…the Freedom class’ superstructure is aluminum. So…if the Freedom class were selected, it’s possible that Austal USA could crank out the superstructures…

  • Ed L

    blue and gold crews for a FFG, seriously? Where is the navy going to get the people? As I understand the recruiting goals for 2017 fell short for all the services. Maybe start combing the Jails again. In my Deck Division I usually had 4 or 5 out of 20 that were given the option of jail or the Navy.

    • Lazarus

      It makes sense for blue and gold crews to keep the ships deployed for 18+ months. Driving ships back and forth over oceanic spaces causes lots of west/tear and hence costs that blue and gold crew rotation mitigates.

      • Ed L

        I am sorry but I can’t see that happening. They navy would be better off asking for enlisted volunteers to serve on forward deployed ships. The longest I was deployed in my 14 years of sea duty was 9 months (Med & PG). And then I volunteer to cross deck at Rota to another Ship for an additional 7 months. I would have crossed deck to another ship And stayed in the Med but the Navy would not let me crossdeck again. Then again I liked being overseas, going back to the States was always a disappointment after a deployment. But when I was in Our Homeport I did go sightseeing there too as well as bar crawling just like being overseas.

        • Al L.

          The Navy shouldnt have a hard time finding sailors to volunteer for 4 month forward rotations flown straight from CONUS to the deployed port, versus 6-8 month and sometimes longer sails on other ships to who knows where. Every sailor that values their family will jump on the frigate if they can. They need 2600 extra sailors for blue/gold crewing out of a 330000 person Navy = .8 % If the Navy cant cough up .8% of its force do its primary mission of sailing ships forward on favorable deployment rotations then then theres a real culture problem in the force.

          • Rocco

            A rotating crew doesn’t make for a good crew! Not in agreement. They are not robots!

          • Al L.

            Tell that to the submarine, PC and MCM crews. Apparently they are poor crews because they rotate.

          • Jon Tessler

            They tried that a few years ago with crew swaps to keep ships deployed. All it did was demoralize the crews (they couldn’t take pride in a ship they were getting transferred off of) and make requirements can for ships maintenance even greater.

          • Rocco

            Thanks for the back up!!

          • Rocco

            Yes, on surface warfare ships, Subs are an exception.

          • Lazarus

            That’s more about institutional fear of new things in the SWO world than a lack of capability.

          • Rocco

            Don’t get it?

          • Rocco

            OK subs are an exception as this has been the norm!! But surface warfare ships it doesn’t work especially carriers.

          • Ed L

            Maybe the Navy needs to go back to not allowing sailors to Married until they reach the rank of 2nd class with exception of those already married. The dependent was not issued with the seabag

          • Al L.

            Oh yeah, that’ll work well for the all volunteer force. In a time when the Navy needs more mature, stable and experienced sailors than ever what we need to do is treat them like children and push them out of the force sooner or discourage them from ever joining. What a smart move that would be.

        • Lazarus

          It’s no longer that world and the Navy has had challenges in getting sailors to cross deck line that.

        • Lazarus

          The rotational crew concept is about getting more overseas presence without the baggage of overseas housing for sailors and dependents. As always, people costs get in the way of operations.

    • Rocco

      India

  • NavySubNuke

    Next time actually read the article – don’t just look at the picture…. There are 5 designs, not 4 even though the picture only shows 4.

    • Rocco

      I can’t even reply to him anymore so can I use you as pass through?

      • NavySubNuke

        No, he’s just gutter trash and isn’t worth your reply. It is pretty entertaining that someone went nuclear and flagged all his posts though considering he regularly flags everyone else’s posts for daring to point out what an ignorant fool he is.

        • Rocco

          Yup !!! …..I just can’t understand why he keeps on trying so hard but all he does is alienate everyone he has a hard time with that challenge him!!

  • Ryan Tomlinson

    If we buy an LCS frigate were gonna be the laughingstock of the world.

    • NavySubNuke

      Not really – I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see the Navy make the easy decision rather than the right decision.
      The greater concern is if we do choose to buy more variants of the two failed LCS designs what signal does that actually send our allies about our commitments to them?
      FREMM frigates have been deployed on numerous occasions and our NATO allies know how reliable and capable they are. Seeing the US ignore that deliberately choose to buy a much less capable but likely more expensive LCS frigate over that will not score us any points with NATO.

  • RunningBear

    With many references in the document about DDG-51 similarities (hull 500’x60′, 4.5Ktons), perhaps the distinction for the FFG should be 75% cost of the DDG or 5 FFG for the price of 4 DDG; less ship, less capability (lower threats).

    – The intense fleet/ group networking requirements; the on-board Anti-air/ ASW capabilities should be primarily 75% of the basic DDG systems costs.

    – Until the Mark 45 delivers a hypersonic round, why should it be required for the FFG (a place holder??).

    – 60′ beam, dual shaft electric motor drives, no mechanical direct coupling; the GT/ diesel generators can be remote located per the floor plan and not restricted by the legacy common gearbox. Use the SSBN Columbia research to downsize for the FFG, 75% of the basic DDG propulsion costs.

    OBTW, with dual drive, one of the shafts can be taken off line and that generator “could” power directed energy weapons??
    IMHO
    Fly Navy
    🙂

    • ElmCityAle

      Design is supposed to be based upon an existing model – what would you propose? Is this the lightweight AB idea – same hull but less added systems (smaller radar, no AEGIS, fewer VLS, etc.)?

      • RunningBear

        The frigate is supposed to be cheaper (75%?? of AB) than the AB (all, Flt. 0-3).

        Yes, the LCS systems were to be tested and proven and installed on the FFG. Well, none of those modules have arrived and are not installed, much less tested at this time.

        Note: the LCS/ FFG “should” be a sensor system for the fleet/ group AAW (NIFC-CA)/ ASW/ ASuW systems and can local process their sensors for self defense/ attack.

        “lightweight AB idea”, but why is a 500’x60′ hull required; because it looks good (ratios??) or it rides smother??, etc. etc……my point is smaller is cheaper! (75%??)
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

  • Ryan Tomlinson

    The navy loves them so much that they cancelled the program and fast tracked a replacement for something better.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    It seems to me that these Congressional reports on the FFG(X) program are *increasingly* looking like an attempt to justify either modifying/”upgrading” the LCSs or picking the Freedom/Independence variant. I might not have the actual service experience but I can negotiate words and reports with the best of them and these are clearly tailored to negate the enthusiasm for FFG(X). Literally, some of the “questions” being asked are ridiculous…. some of them are almost borderline “Yes!” or “No!” answers. C’mon. The FFG(X) is one of the literal biggest needs of the Navy and country’s military right now.

    • PolicyWonk

      Neither LCS variant has the room for growth to add either weapons or protection of significance. It they did, the ASW and MCM mission packages wouldn’t have had to be redesigned due to being overweight.

      LockMart has the inside track, because they partnered with Fincantieri on the Freedom variant. If a modified Freedom variant is chosen, LockMart wins. If the FREMM is chosen, LockMart will still be doing the integration work – so they’d still win.

      It has been reported that LockMart, in an effort to help win the FFG(X) business, is dumping the LCS propulsion system completely, and has opted for a twin-screw design.

      However, I share your suspicion that one of the lousier options (LockMart/Austal LCS-based designs) will prevail.

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        As always I appreciate your immense insight and knowledge in these areas. I don’t particularly like LM, although I recognize they’re the biggest baddest defense contractor and contribute a ton of our nation’s defense-posture hardware … What concerns me is the potential for bribery, bamboozling, etc. And I dare someone to tell me they don’t believe *bazillions* of dollars are not being spent “lobbying” to ensure all sorts of military/government/business deals. We are at the point where US Senators basically admit — in signed letters of multiples of them — that the LCS is a corporate welfare program to help a couple-a-few-thousand of workers in various states that have active shipyards and shipbuilding industries tied to the LCS program. And when you combine the perfect-storm of the fact we have cancelled the CG/CGN(X), we roasted+toasted&burnt-to-a-crisp the DDG(X)/DDG-1000 , and retired the FFG-7 class while “replacing” it with the LCS program (And again, no matter what any particular poster wants to spin, THE SHIPS DO NOT DEPLOY. This cannot be gainsaid. We can argue about 57mm vs 30mm vs 76mm vs 127mm vs 155mm or SeaRAM vs Phalanx or Naval Strike Missile vs Harpoon vs Tomahawk all day– opinions are opinions I guess– BUT THE LCS DOES NOT ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING, it actually doesn’t go to work in the morning…) this results in the FFG(X) being perhaps the most important program the Navy is facing these days outside of submarines. OK Rant over, not directed at you PW, just blowing of some steam from the cup of cappuccino we should be having from the FREMM’s many makers.

      • leesea

        Technically neither variant has met the NAVSEA dictated life-cycle weight margins. That standard Might be arguable, what is not is that both builders failed to properly manage the ship i.e. hull weight in a responsible manner.
        As to the winner, it’s up to the Congress they write the checks. I don’t know which STATE has a stronger lobby, but you can damn well believe that the shipyards are putting in a LOT.

        • Lazarus

          Actually they do as LCS manages weight growth over time within the modular weight. At 100 tons for such, LCS is much better than the FFG7 class which had only 5 tons.

  • Kypros

    I hope a proper Frigate is selected. One that is sturdy, reliable and able to complete it’s missions in war time and in a hostile environment. And be able to do it for decades. I can’t see one of the LCS designs filling those criteria. I’m all for keeping our industrial base active, so I see no issue with having Austal and/or Fincantieri-Marinette doing work on the hopefully “proper Frigate” which will be selected. Regarding work, both LCS yards still have LCSs to build, beyond that, Austal still has EFT contracts and FMM still has 4 Saudi Frigates to build. There will be work for these two yards. Don’t select a Frigate which can’t operate as a USN Frigate, just to create more “make work” projects for them.

    • Rocco

      We hope

  • NavySubNuke

    There you go lying again.
    What I actually hate is the billions of dollars and years of effort the Navy has wasted on the failed LCS program rather than buying the ships the Navy needs to deter wars and to fight and win the Nation’s wars should deterrence fail.
    I realize that means nothing to you but to those of us who actually care about America and about the lives of American sailors it means quite a bit.

    • Rocco

      Kudos

  • NavySubNuke

    Ah, looks like Duane is also calling PEO LCS himself a liar too:
    “In his first formal interview since assuming command last summer, Neagley told USNI News that these lessons learned will all come into play next year when the Navy ups the difficulty of its LCS operations – with two Independence-variant ships operating concurrently out of Singapore, and one Freedom-variant ship operating out of Bahrain for the first time in the program’s history
    From: June 7, 2017 4:09 PM

    • PolicyWonk

      Hopefully, that Freedom variant will be sent to the ME with a Sea-Tow subscription, and a pair of PC’s to protect it ;-P

    • Rocco

      Agreed with all thee above!!

  • Rocco

    I second that!! As in member

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    How is it LCS-1 the best design? Or even a mature design as required / desired by the Navy’s RFI?

    LockMartin just said for their FFG(X) submission, they were going to rip out the LCS water-jet propulsion and replace with a more traditional twin screw.

    I’m no naval architect, but that seems like a pretty major design change. Practically an entirely new design.

    • PolicyWonk

      The LockMart design is both less innovative, and has a more complex/less reliable propulsion system than the Austal design (which also has a much larger flight deck).

      The only thing is has going for it is that it uses steel for the hull.

      • Secundius

        Not exactly true! The “Freedom” has a Flat Bottom Hull, which allows the Freedom to “Beach Itself” for possible Amphibious Operations. As either a Make Shift Gator-Freighter or Cargo Lighter to support amphibious operations. And with a ~6,500sqft. Mission Bay, that “Still” a lot of Cargo for a Ship that size…

        • PolicyWonk

          I doubt the “gator-freighter” or use for amphib ops: if the PC’s were initially designed to support SoF operations, and were considered to be too big by the SoF’s, then LCS (many times larger) ain’t likely to be any better.

          Besides, LCS are so lightly armed/protected that any opposition would quickly render it useless. I have suggested in the past that an LCS could be wrecked by a determined assault by a diver armed only with a can-opener.

          However, the planing hull might be useful in the event the Freedom variant were attacked near shore, at very high speed, so it could run itself aground and allow the crew to abandon ship without getting too wet.

          😛

          Also note, that LCS is already compromised by the lack of room for growth, which leaves very little space for carrying cargo of significance.

          • Secundius

            I suspect if you can fire a HiMAR of the Flight Deck of the “La Salle”, you can do the same from the “Freedom”.

            Fourth paragraph down…
            ( https : // www . militaryfactory . com / ships / detail . asp ? ship _ id = USS – Freedom – LCS1 )

          • PolicyWonk

            Gad, but the data on that page is long obsolete… LCS, for example, now has a base crew of 70, as opposed to the 40 listed.

            HIMARS is a pretty big/bulky system, and there are no plans to deploy on LCS (or anywhere else), though it was tested on an LPD successfully. Whether they decide to develop a naval version remains to be seen. And if one launches a HIMARS from the deck of an LCS, that LCS will likely be quickly dispatched and the troops won’t have a ride home (unless they are in the most permissive of environments).

            If LCS were going to support SoF’s (note the problem the SoF folks had with the much smaller PC’s – which makes it dubious), they’d be better off to use an Independence class, which has a larger flight deck, and station a pair of Vipers on her in case of trouble (perhaps use it as a mother ship for specialized SoF, or Mark VI patrol boats).

            The problem is that LCS was never intended to go into harms way, by either design or construction. At least in the case with the old PT boats, they were very heavily armed, the crews earned hazardous duty pay, and were comprised of volunteers. Not the case with LCS, which has long been deceitfully sold as something it isn’t – and that foundational problem cannot be fixed.

          • Secundius

            Data may be old, but “Designed Capabilities” haven’t changed! They may have been Rewritten, but even that can Change if the Only Transporter for the job a getting a Fast Light Reactionary Force (i.e. IRC “Immediate Ready Company” or QRF “Quick Reaction Force”) there Fast, requires the “Freedom” class to do the job.

            In 1945 “PT” boats were Rearmed with a Quickfiring 37mm Auto Cannon, a 40mm Bofors, and a pair of Mk.50 5-inch Rocket Launcers (8-cells each). The Same or Similar Modifications (updated too 21st century standards) can also be done to the “Littorals” if the Mission Requirements call for it.

            WWII “DD’s”, “DE’s”, “LST’s” and “PT’s” ALL had “Foundational Problems”. But STILL managed to get the job done…

          • PolicyWonk

            The bottom line is that LCS wasn’t designed to be a warship, and even suffered the indignity of having legal waivers issued so they could be designated USS, which is illegal if the ship isn’t built to USN survivibility standards (and no LCS variant, past, present, or future will ever meet even the USN’s Level 1 standard).

            It might not be so bad if they were cheap – but they are monstrously overpriced given the remarkably poor ROI (the Saudi’s and Israeli’s were both right in their reasoning when they refused to buy into the program when they saw the results).

            All the ships you mention were heavily armed (except the LST, which was a transport – and even they were better armed than LCS in some cases). At best, LCS is barely armed for self-defense, let alone anything else. They simply aren’t and never were worth the money – at even half the price.

          • Secundius

            Huuh! Probably the reason why Turkey bought them, and are in turn building Four of them to Pakistan…

          • PolicyWonk

            You’ll have to provide a reference – this smells like BRAVO SIERRA: the Turks are selling 4 indigenous-design corvettes to Pakistan – but they are obviously not built by either LockMart or Austal LCS.

            If the Turks study what PEO LCS did wrong (lots of failures to choose from), they might have better luck with their design.

            If Turkey were stupid enough to buy LCS, it would’ve at least made it to these pages.

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            https : // www . naval – technology . com / projects / milgem _ class _ corvett /

          • PolicyWonk

            Thanks for the link. This ship is NOT an LCS – its over a thousand tons lighter, and is far more heavily armed than either LCS class (by default): larger gun (76mm), 8 ASM (Harpoons), Torpedo launchers, etc. In short – a substantially better and no doubt far more useful ship.

            Unlike LCS, there are a number of countries interested in purchasing them. And the only thing it has in common with LCS, according to the article is the”similar” mission profile.

            Bottom line: your comment that Turkey purchased or somehow even bought into LCS was BRAVO SIERRA.

            If you’re going to make claims such as the one you did that LCS was purchased, or bought into by some other government, you should at least provide links that *support* your claim, as opposed to disproving it.

          • Secundius

            Same basic design though, probably more in line with the Upcoming SSC ( Small Surface Combatant)…

          • PolicyWonk

            The Turkish design would utterly defeat/overpower LCS, and its a thousand tons lighter: a completely different design, far more powerful from a military perspective, at a far lower price.

            In short, it has the virtues LCS should have at a vastly superior price point, and nothing in common with the acquisition disaster known as LCS, outside of the weakest of weak links (w/r/t the “similar mission profile”).

          • Secundius

            So what! I suspect the “Freedom” could take out a WWII “Fletcher” in a Gun Dual alone. Armor on the Fletcher was 3/4-inch to 1/2-inch HY40 Plate Steel compared to Freedom’s HY80 Plate Steel…

          • PolicyWonk

            So what? Seriously? The LCS classes are the weakest so-called war ships in its size range (let alone compared to naval ships of half the tonnage), and cost double the price of a Milgem, and that doesn’t concern you?

            Whoever’s side your on, its evidently not that of the USA. But thanks for letting us all know.

          • Secundius

            “Freedom” is WIP! Somehow how or somewhere you forgot that or you simply didn’t care. And tried to give it a Meaning and an Identity. When it didn’t meet you’re criteria of what a Naval Combatant was. You called it a “Crappy Little Ship”. The “LITTORALS” are “LEGO-SHIP’s” (i.e. MODULAR). Live with it…

          • PolicyWonk

            I *never* called LCS “little crappy ship”. I have however called it, among other things: a “blatant corporate welfare program”, a “waste of taxpayer funds”, a “grossly deceitful misrepresentation”, and “Franken-ship”.

            I’ve referred to PEO LCS as “criminally negligent”, “incompetent”, “frauds”, and have said many times that the whole of of them “should be demoted back to swabbie and drummed out of the service…”. (I might’ve suggested some number of years in the brig, too, because they all DESERVE it).

            But I NEVER referred to LCS as “little crappy ship”, though I sympathize with those that do, because it is a statement of fact.

            A “Work in Progress”, after 10 YEARS since the first commissioning? With only ONE (VERY lame) mission package delivered in all those years? And the pathetically small number of deployments after all the billions of dollars wasted?

            BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAaaa…

            Too bad the joke is on the US taxpayers.

            Victory: The board rooms of Austal and Lockmart, and potential adversaries of the United States.
            Losers: US taxpayers, US sailors order to crew LCS, US national security

          • Secundius

            The Israeli ordered the Fredom (Freedom) as a Light Destroyer in 2000. And their design only mounted at “R2D2” Mk.15 “Phalanx” Gun Mount and not the 57mm Bofors Gun. Donald Rumsfeld sold the idea to then President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2003 Bush sold the idea to the US Congress, who funded the class in 2004. Who or how the Freedom got designed to it’s specifications is unknown. But “Independence” was originally designed as a “OHP” replacement, but of All Aluminum construction. Sorry about the “Blame”, but I get irritated by those that didn’t see “Freedom” for what she was, a “Test Ship”. To Test a concept that originated in 1934, but was never Funded because of “The Great Depression”, as a Fast Cargo Destroyer. To use the Desytoyers speed to deliver high priority cargo to the Fight in a Hurry…

          • PolicyWonk

            The LCS program was created due to an influx of funding that was approved, based on the “street fighter” concept conjured by the ONR. The concept was created due to a clear need for a littoral combat platform that the ONR suggested should cost ~$92M per sea-frame, be very heavily armed, fast, and designed to fight and prevail in the littorals.

            However, once PEO LCS got their filthy mitts on the funding, after blowing a mountain of money, the end result are these two very complex commercial-grade designs, that cost 10X that of what was envisioned, and if one weren’t aware of how the program started they’d never guess where the end result came from. Unfortunately, the only recognizable feature of the “street fighter” concept that remained is the deceitful designation “littoral combat ship”, and was ironically “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”, according to former CNO Greenert.

            If PEO LCS had an ounce of integrity, they would’ve pitched what they really designed: a crazy expensive, ultra-complex, toothless utility boat. But they knew they wouldn’t get funding based on the truth, so they blatantly LIED, and called it what they knew it would NEVER be – “littoral combat ship”.

            $36B wasted taxpayer dollars spent, and the USN is still without a littoral combat solution.

            And the Israeli’s never bought a Freedom variant, because they considered it far too expensive given the (thoroughly proven) lousy ROI.

            Neither LCS class can be considered test ships: and LCS1 failed miserably in its first trans-Pacific assignment. The OMB report was as stunning as it was damning – yet we’re still building these failures – that still stink, even after “improvements” made as a result of LCS1’s many failures. We’re 10 years in – long past the “test ship” excuse.

          • Secundius

            Funny the Donald Trump and his Magical Powers of the Executive Power (i.e. Executive Order) hasn’t cancelled the program, why is that! Wasn’t he elected to end the Waste of Government Spending, or has 21-months of being the President changed that Promise…

          • PolicyWonk

            Donald Trump certainly doesn’t comprehend naval matters in much depth (if any at all, which I’d doubt). The man is quite vocal about not bothering with doing the kind of homework a POTUS is required to do, or is associated with doing (for example: reading his briefing books before meeting with foreign leaders; reviewing the summary of the budget before signing it; and/or learning the ins/outs of major policies he supposedly supports – and that’s according to his own staff, what he has stated publicly, and the leadership/members of GOP and democratic delegations).

            He did nothing about draining the swamp, arguably made it vastly worse, and took zero action with DoD acquisition reform (I’d hoped he would do this, given his much ballyhooed business background – but that was far more noise than substance), despite the fact that doing so would save trillions of dollars in the long run, and would allow us to fund and sustain a considerably larger military for the same money we were spending in 2014.

            Realistically, a given POTUS can have some influence on military acquisition programs – but given the MIC and its hold on elected representatives, even the opposition of a POTUS isn’t enough. This much ballyhooed salesman cannot sell his wall to the GOP – so selling them on dropping a corporate welfare program that feathers their nests is unlikely to have any success. An executive order doesn’t stop spending on (or kill) specific military programs: funding is the exclusive job of the HoR’s.

            You might recall the much touted summit with N. Korea and how tough he was going to be: yet he collapsed like a house of cards, practically gave Kim Jong Un the farm, got virtually nothing in return, and then spewed nonsense about wanting to build condo’s on the N. Korean coast while repeating the N. Korean party line w/r/t denuclearization of the Korean peninsula at the press conference.

            If Obama had done anything even remotely similar (let alone the shameless brown-nosing of Putin, who now gleefully touts the international demise of the USA in moral, diplomatic, or global leadership, in every speech he makes), he would’ve been impeached and the gallows built before AF1 was wheels down on American soil.

            As a result, my expectations for coherent leadership coming out of the White House are so low an ant wouldn’t have to lift its legs to step over them.

          • Secundius

            During the commissioning of “Gerald R. Ford” by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017. A young African-American female Petty Officer, tried to explain on how the EMALS system worked. Only to be dismayed by Donald Trump’s comment of using Coal to generate the power to produce the Steam to make the EMALS work more effectively. Somebody other than the PO, had to explain to Donald Trump that the US Navy hasn’t used Coal as a Fuel Source on US Naval Ships since 1910…

          • PolicyWonk

            Now that’s pathetic…

          • Rocco

            Lol

          • Rocco

            Not in agreement!! Fletcher class has 4 ….5″ guns compared to the puny 57mm.

          • Secundius

            As I recall the Fletchers use a Optical Fire Control System, and the First Fast Three Minutes was ~22rpm/Gun, then dropped off to ~15rpm/Gun sustained. Whereas the 57mm Bofors with its Monobloc Cooled Steel Barrel can sustain a withering Gun Fire of ~220rpm and is Both Radar and Optically Controlled. And has a ~10-knot speed advantage over the Fletcher…

          • Rocco

            You have a point however if a Fletcher had dead aim and advantage of catching an LCS of guard…….!!!

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately USNI News for some reason won’t let answer you’re questions…

          • Rocco

            Huh??

          • Secundius

            The last question you posted, I tried to answer. But the USNI News kept Redacting my Response. So I tried different ways, but still got redacted. Why?/! I don’t know…

          • Secundius

            As I recall the only Country to use Guided Missiles on Ships in WWII, was Germany using the MF-5 “Nussknacker” Surface-to-Air Missile. Though at least One U-Boot was outfitted to launch the V-2. (i.e. Operation Teardrop)…

          • Rocco

            As well as mines!!

          • Rocco

            Kudos

  • RunningBear

    Not to question but do you have a relative date? of installation and/ or a reference/ link for the SuW testing results?

    As an aside, the ASW, MCM modules were testing near Panama City, Fl. (hurr. Michael) and may be delayed, IIRC.
    Thank You,
    Fly Navy
    🙂

  • leesea

    Ahh while the LCS program has not been cancelled it has been truncated. The USN wanted to stop at 24 or 28, the Congress imposed their desired hulls at 32 or is it 33? Either way the original 52 will not be bought

    • Lazarus

      Who in USN leadership can you cite wanted to truncate LCS? Ash Carter did; but which US Navy leader?

      • leesea

        Robert Work told me so

        • Lazarus

          When Under Navy or Under SECDEF? It matters. No uniform said that.

    • Secundius

      How do you think that a 355-Ship US Navy is going to be achieved? By buy the Largest and Most Expensive Surface Warships! Or by buying Smaller Multipurpose Combatants that can be constructed Cheaply and less that 6-months build times…

      • Rocco

        Agreed!! But I don’t agree with it!!

      • PolicyWonk

        The USN is thoroughly entitled to build smaller, multipurpose combatants. But they shouldn’t be entitled to waste money building ships to commercial standards, with overly complex systems, monstrously expensive maintenance, and cannot be easily upgraded to carry weapons/protection of significance.

        Why would the USN (or anyone else) build something called “littoral combat ship” that was never designed for combat in the littorals or anywhere else – unless the motive is to deceive?

        The USN would’ve been far better off to build a generic Level-2 sea-frame, with standardized mounts, a simpler modular upgrade system, and standard communications/sensor suite, with basic armament for presence missions. The idea is to deploy a bunch of them, and upgrade them with more weapons if the going starts to get tough. At least in this case, you’re starting with the right foundation, instead of the commercial-grade LCS, which won’t be a warship by either design or construction no matter what you add to it.

        • Secundius

          A US Naval Ship qualified Welder requires a Minimum of 7-years of experience as a Master Journeyman, Higher STILL for qualified to make welds on submarines. In most cases Professional Welders are Paid Better by the Private Sector (i.e. Building Construction, Oil Field Welders, Dive Welders, etc.). Shipyard Welders are at best Seasonal Work, or when a Specific Ship Class is concluded. That’s why Most Naval Vessels built in the World are NOW constructed at Commercial Shipyards…

      • Rocco

        Yeah constructed cheaply but not worth it asking price!!

    • Rocco

      Agreed

  • leesea

    There are space and weight reservations in the design to include the forward “missile bay”. To say they have additional as in more capacity is not accurate

    • Lazarus

      100 tons total to support changes in modular weights and 80’tons for JP5 and other liquid load. LCS carries as much JP5 as did FFG7.

  • leesea

    I fixed my hull number. The original vintage 2002 plan for evolutionary development did not envision the LCS as blue water escorts. So…the ships were not built to to that. And you should know by now that advance marine ships cannot be repurposed easily if at all.

  • leesea

    I am speaking in engineering terms, you aren’t

  • Lazarus

    Agree with the req for less speed in FFGX but I wonder if a major change to the LHM variant’s propulsion system is outside the FFGX RFI. Leasee may be correct and perhaps not, but such a change may price the LHM variant out of the competition. Maybe like the US film industry, LHM is making this change for a foreign market not interested or invested in waterjets?

    • Rocco

      Big mega yachts have them now!!

  • Rocco

    Including me!!

  • Jon Tessler

    We can sit here and argue all day long and it won’t matter. The Navy IS GOING TO DO WHAT CONGRESS TELLS THEM TO DO. If Congress tells them to buy another 75 LCS designed as FFG (X)….then the Navy will do it and make it work.

    When I read some of these comment threads, all I can think of are fans arguing over sports teams….nothing we say matters. Stop being “personal” in your complaints toward others.

    Yep there is a large segment here who hate the LCS, and a segment who like the LCS….so what NONE of us are PEO USC, so we won’t solve anything by arguing.

    • Kypros

      True, but it is interesting to read differing viewpoints.

    • Rocco

      That’s a liberal stance that doesn’t belong here!!

      • Jon Tessler

        So I guess common sense is a liberal thing lol

        • PolicyWonk

          Yep – and facts seem to have a well-known liberal bias ;-P

          • Jon Tessler

            Well when you ascribe solely to conspiracy theories put out by the right as “truth” or “alternative facts”…..there you go lol

          • Rocco

            Apply this to a dictator & see where it got us!! Like Oboma!!

          • Jon Tessler

            Obama may have been a rather inept president…. but he wasn’t “a dictator”. Also this is now so far away from the actual discussion……

          • Rocco

            You opened the door!! & I used Oboma as an example!! But….. Mind you I’m not a Trump supporter either!

          • Jon Tessler

            My original point still stands though. We argue with Duane, like it will make some sort of difference…..and it won’t….so why beat a dead horse lol

          • Rocco

            Agreed about Duane! …..But if you’re point makes you sleep at night sweet dreams!

        • Rocco

          We take pride in what we all on here believe in. Those of us here have served & know what today’s Navy needs unlike Congress making those decisions for the taxpayers!! Take a stand!! …Yes with common sense!

          • Jon Tessler

            Yet the majority of us are in no position to influence anyone or anything…….so we bitch and complain that no one will listen lol

          • Rocco

            Like family arguments!!

  • Ryan Tomlinson

    I just cant for the life of me understand why LCS was never designed to have at least 8 mk41 VLS cells. I mean they wanted this thing to be modular right. It doesn’t get more modular than the MK41. Who in this day and age designs a warship with no VLS cells.

    • Secundius

      Short answer, the Flight I LCS is a Lego Ship (i.e. Plug’N’Play). Which gets outfitted as to Mission Requirements, whether a Perimeter Action Ship, Cutter, Ambulance Ship, Small Gator-Freighter, whatever. That’s why the “Modular Design” as opposed to “Mission Specific”…

  • DaSaint

    So I see folks have the option of posting comments and not allowing replies to them. Ok, not a great way to have a discussion, but…

    From Duane:
    Yes, 5 not 4 designs. If the Navy selected a design that was not part of its design development contract awards program, it would be entirely self-defeating, as 1) it would require another year of evaluation of the submitted design, which would cause the selection schedule to fall behind that amount, and 2) the five contractors who did submit designs would protest the award, probably adding yet another year to the delivery schedule.

    My response: Duane, you more than most know that the power of the English language is the exactness of the words that are used. You keep referring to DESIGN development contract, but the problem is that none has been issued. What was issued – and it’s in the report – is a Conceptual design contract. The USN reserves full right to select an FFG(X) design from any source, irrespective of their being selected for the conceptual design contract.

    Therefore, it would NOT be self-defeating. There will be a year of evaluation anyway between the issuance of the RFP and the selection of a winning submission, and the 5 awardees of the conceptual design contract were paid for their work, WITH NO EXPECTATION OF BEING SELECTED AS THE FINALIST. Again, it’s in the report.

    Words matter – you know that.

  • John Callaway

    Does anyone know how big the ships in this class are going to be (length, beam, and displacement) and how large a crew it will need?

    • Secundius

      Actual selection of Design of Frigate isn’t until 2019. But there is a Government “Pdf.” files as a Template for Mission Requirements…

      ( https : // fas . org / sgp / crs / weapons / R44972 . pdf )

    • Rocco

      Something between a Berk class & current LCS

  • vetww2

    The report is reminiscent of those written in the depths of the US/USSR COLD WAR. Not one word acknowledgiing the changes.

  • vetww2

    I have run over 10 competitions, mostly firm fixed price. This one seems to be emblamatic of most cost+ or easy change fixed price contracts. Under bid and collect on extensive changes.
    The key to the problem solution is a mature specification and hard nosed Contracting Officer and COTR.

  • Kypros

    HII has been soooooooooooooo secretive this year on FFGx.

    • Secundius

      Or “HII” is no longer a contender in the FFG(X) competition! Keep in mind that the “Arleigh Burke’s” weren’t designed by HII, but by Bath Iron Works. Also HII being Fined by the US Justice Department in May 2017, may have added to their Silence…

  • Chish

    History may well show that the US Navy in its rush for a design that was based on ‘hulls in water’ have lost the chance to build the best ASW Frigate available – The UK Type 26. The Royal Navy already has arguably the best ASW Frigate in the Type 23 and it has extended and advanced that capability in a flexible design. The Royal Australian Navy recognised that flexibility, maintained the advanced ASW and added US sourced combat systems like AEGIS. Now the Royal Canadian Navy has followed the same logic and will build an advanced ASW Frigate with Canadian sourced combat systems.

    Looking at its specification the Australian Type 26 ‘Hunter Class’ is exactly what the US Navy is looking for albeit in a larger hull. And any version of the Type 26 makes the FREMM look positively out of date in capabilities

    • DJ

      No, the US FFG(X) & T26 are definately not a good match. An Australian T26 taken to its max, comes in at 8,800t (metric of course). Its way more than the USA has specified. It is said that the design is capable of going to 64 vls cells if required (though I suspect the multi mission bay may suffer) & was designed from the ground up to be an ASW specialist, without ignoring other capabilities.

      Thats not to say the USA could not do with T26. But a T26 is in AB territory, just a different emphasis (ASW rather than AAW) & comes with a price tag to match. If they want a cheaper ASW frigate, that is still top shelf, its hard to go past the Italian ASW FREMM. If they want an AAW frigate, then F100/F105 is a good match. But the US FFG(X) requirement reads more like the T31 competition. So looking at the T31 competition, the A140 (modernised GP version of the Danish I-H) is the standout. Change the CMS & radar to suit & its exacty what the FFG(X) says they want. Though seriously get rid of that 57mm – I know you spent a fortune developing long range ammo, but NO. You immediatly rule out serious NGFS with the 57mm. Its a OPV / Corvette gun or something you stick on a specialist, not a GP frigate.

      So if you want to consider T26, start a different competition. US really needs to decide what its looking for. The FFG(X) competion sort of sounds like you are looking for a T31 type GP frigate, while you seem to be looking at decidedly non GP frigates (in the Itallian ASW FREMM & Spanish AAW F100/F105). The two LCS based options would not even get a look in with the T31 competition & the NSC (if that is what is being proposed), is way too expensive for what you are getting.

  • vetww2

    OLA, I have cracked the code. Before the Twitter of the Navy world(USNI) consigns me to the nether regions of this column. Consider this. The Navy has convinced itself that there will no longer be Naval combat, SO,they are readying themselves to become THE WORLD LEADER of Luxury, low pasenger DELUXE cruise ships.

    • PolicyWonk

      This easily evidenced by the creation/purchase of these so-called “littoral combat ships” that were “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

      The proper moniker, is not, repeat not: LCS. The correct moniker is “AWSB” (Admirals Water-Skiing Barge).

      ;-D

      • Rocco

        Ha ha lol boy you are on a roll yesterday!! I wasn’t able to partake as I was working

  • vetww2

    To keep up my drumbeat on “SWARM” tactics, read the latest article on the Irani-nuts. harassing our ships, in the persian gulf in that EXACT way.

  • vetww2

    I can understand a reporter’s unfamiliarity with the complexities of High cost, high risk, high tech competition, BUT in this procurement, it should be the salient subject of the discussion. Billions of dollars and this nation’s security depend on it. believe my previous posts would be of value, if they could be resurrected from the nether regions of this discussion. I respectfully request such action.

  • PaulSevere

    Comparing capabilities, compatibility with existing US Navy systems and size, the Bazan class (Navantia / BIW) has it all over the other entries if the money is the same. I believe $1.1B is what the Navy said it was willing to pay, and voila!, whaddayaknow, all the estimates seem to be close. For only 20 ships, that has to be the way to go. Yet it seems to be a small class size for an important escort type, far smaller than any other major escort type since 1918. But for ships that would meet the requirements, be tough and reliable, and which _should_ be cheap enough to build with economies of scale to 40 or more ships, I like the frigate derivative of the National Security Cutter.

    • Secundius

      Keep in mind that the ~$1.1-Billion USD is a “Floating Figure”, which could rise as more capabilities are added on to the Ship Class chosen…

      • PaulSevere

        I am arguing for the price to go DOWN, and the quantity to go UP. Wouldn’t a _Fletcher_ class be just the thing?? But if BIW could deliver a Bazan for $1.1B, then that’s likely to be the best deal we’re gonna get.

        • Secundius

          In 28 July 1945, A “Fletcher” class Destroyer, the DD-792, USS “Callaghan” was SUNK by a Fabric Skinned Wooden Frame Yokosuka K5Y “Willow” Biplane “Kamikaze” carrying a Single 100-kilogram Bomb. That’s how “Weak” the Armor was on a “Fletcher”…

          • PaulSevere

            My comment about the _Fletchers_ was sarcastic, b/c I don’t think bringing up an 80-year old design is helpful. But the most remarkable thing about the _Fletchers_ was the QUANTITY: 175. They also had radar guided Mk 37 fire director controlled DP 5″/38 caliber guns, capable of engaging surface targets at 9 miles and shooting down kamikazes, as demonstrated by USS _The Sullivans_. In another instance, the second USS Laffey, DD-724, an _Allen Sumner_ class which was basically a _Fletcher_ with dual mounts, survived being hit by 6 kamikazes. She was on radar picket duty, meaning she was all alone when the wave of kamikazes approached, and lavished their attention on her instead of the carrier group she was protecting..

          • Secundius

            Somewhat thicker hulls then the “Fletcher’s”! The Mk.32 Mod.0, 5-inch gun mounts on the “Allen M. Sumner” class weighed ~105,600-pounds each. While the Mk.30 Mod.0/41’s weighed between 40,900-pounds and ~41,400-pounds respectively each, depending of which vendor produced them…

          • Rocco

            Agreed

          • Rocco

            I disagree that was a lucky shot!! Just recently the tail end, ( stern ) was found off the coast of Alaska that was torpedoed !! The ship was able to sail back. Got a new stern & went back to the war!!

          • Secundius

            Exactly how was the “Callaghan” to sail back for repairs with it’s Stern Blown Off. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Ships Screw Shafts and Rudders are located on the Stern…

          • Rocco

            Or maybe it was towed can’t remember what the article said. By the way I tried to respond to your post you had trouble with in responding to me 2 months ago, UNSI wouldn’t let me

          • Secundius

            Are you sure you have the right Destroyer. Navy records have “Callaghan” serving Picket Duty near Okinawa Island during the attack…

          • Rocco

            Yes off the coast of Alaska! Fletcher class

          • Secundius

            Right CLASS, Wrong SHIP! DD-526, USS “Abner Read” was performing an anti-submarine screen off of Kiska Island off Alaskan Coast. Japanese Submarine Torpedo “Blew Off” an ~75-foot by 18-foot” section of “Abner Read’s” Stern. Ship went adrift into Japanese Mine Field, but was towed to safety and later repaired at San Diego…

          • Rocco

            Yes! Couldn’t remember the name. I never said anything about it being another ship or implied it!

          • Secundius

            Only other “Fletcher” class that even came close to what you described, was DD-527, USS Ammen. Which was Attacked by an obsolete Aichi D3A “Val”, that attacked the Stern of “Ammen’s” only to Explode under the Stern of “Ammen”. And force of Blast lifted “Ammen” out of water and Bending the Stern which broke the Screw Shafts. But survived to be fixed and fight until decommissioning in 1946…

  • Dudley Skaggs

    The new Frigate is the most important decision the Navy will be making in the near future. With combination of rising threats, rising ship costs and shrinking budgets the Navy will be forced to rely frigates to fill in the gaps.

    The Navy will need a frigate that is fast, well armed and multi purpose flexable. Whether subsurface, surface or air it will need to be able to meet the threat. It will also need the range and speed to keep up with the fleet. Probably a 6000 ton ship such as the Italians, French and Brits have.

    I realize this type of frigate will be big and expensive. It will also be doing jobs that cruisers and destroyers can do more effectively. But we do not have enough destroyers and our cruisers do not even exist on paper. Even if the navy moves quickly on we are still looking at gap of years until new “large surface combatants” are in the fleet.

    If a foreign design works better and can employ us ship workers then by all means use it. Give the LCS ships to the Coast Guard where they can chase drug runners. Last let Navy learn from this mess so it never happens again.