Home » Budget Industry » USS Freedom Gets Underway After Two Years of Repairs


USS Freedom Gets Underway After Two Years of Repairs

USS Freedom (LCS-1) departs a pier in San Diego under its own power on Dec. 10, 2018. US Navy Photo

Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) left a pier in San Diego, Calif., for the first time in more than two years, after an extensive repair period to fix the ship’s propulsion system.

The underway was part of contractor trials to test repairs after a Colt-Pielstick diesel engine was damaged in 2016, a Navy spokesperson told USNI News on Monday.

“The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) achieved a major milestone this week as the ship began contractor sea trials, Dec. 10,” LCS Squadron 1 spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Miranda Williams told USNI News.
“This important step is the culmination of nearly two years’ worth of work across multiple organizations. This milestone allows the first ship of its class to return to sea and fulfill its new role as a testing ship.”

In 2016, the crew of the ship discovered one of its two Colt-Pielstick diesels had failed due to contamination of the ship’s lube oil system by seawater.

After participating in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise operating on its gas turbines, the ship returned to its homeport in San Diego. Once pier-side, a Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s Diesel Engine Inspector found “significant damage to the engine caused by rust and seawater,” USNI News reported at the time. Since then, the ship has been undergoing repairs in San Diego. The first word on the successful repairs came from the ship’s Facebook page last week.

With the repairs to the ship completed, Freedom is now on its way to rejoin the four-ship LCS test force. The other Freedom-class ship in the test division, USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), was also sidelined after operator error damaged the combining gear that linked the ship’s main propulsion diesels with the Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines in Singapore in 2016.

Questions on the status of both Freedom and Fort Worth left with a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesperson on Monday were not immediately returned.

In contrast to the two-years NAVSEA took to repair the two ships, the command was able to replace a damaged MT30 gas turbine on Zumwalt-class Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) in a matter of months.

The inclusion of Freedom and Fort Worth back into the testing regime will free up operational assets that were waylaid to complete testing of the emerging mission package capabilities. Due in part to the demands of mission package testing, the Navy did not deploy any Littoral Combat Ships in 2018.

For example, USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) was used as a platform for Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) developmental testing that will integrate the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire onto the LCS.

 

  • PolicyWonk

    This milestone allows the first ship of its class to return to sea and fulfill its new role as a testing ship.
    ==============================================
    Riiiiiiiiiiight…

    The OMB report on LCS-1’s performance resulting from it’s ill-fated mission to Singapore was scathing (to be generous). The final verdict was that the ship was so bad, OMB recommended she be used as a punishment, hazing, or test ship, fundamentally incapable of being counted a naval asset.

    Hopefully, one day, this wretched corporate welfare program will deliver some tiny value to the taxpayers.

    • Duane

      OMB is NOT the Navy – it is a political unit operating out of the White House, and they don’t know squat about naval affairs. Worse than DOT&E. Citing OMB as a source is worse than citing the Troll Factory in St. Petersberg as a reliable source of naval information. In fact, those two may well be interconnected, given what we’ve learned about the dozens of Trump admin official contacts with the Putin regime, all the way through the 2016 election and beyond. 37 indictments so far, half a dozen guilty pleas and/or convictions.

    • Lazarus

      LCS 1 was built with OT&E $$$ as an experimental unit. Not surprised that it has had problems. Those have largely been corrected in the 2nd flight (LCS 3) and LCS 5 AF units although some remain. The USN in general has a maintenance crisis and LCS far from being the worst issue.

      • Bubblehead

        Brand new ships should not be having a maintenance crises, especially because they are barely spending any time at sea. I mean the damn ship just took up a drydock for 2 years. The entire damn boat takes that long to build from scratch. And keep in mind right now there are 3 SSN’s out there that have lost their underwater certs because they cannot find a drydock for maintenance.

        • Duane

          That stuff happens when the Navy doesn’t properly train and qualify the machinest mates on them. The Navy stated unequivocally that it was human error due to poorly trained operators that cause the “engineering incidents”.

          You’re supposedly a sub sailor .. if the Navy sent poorly trained unqualified seamen to work a SSN, the result would be even worse. Fortunately, Admiral Rickover ensured that that would never be the case on his nukes.

        • John

          And the dock used for LCS-1 wouldn’t fit a SSN, nor is it in an area with the facilities to do any of the work needed for those boats.

      • PolicyWonk

        Given that it met few (if any) of its goals, this wasn’t much of a bargain, and gave little reason to continue building the class (PEO LCS to the rescue!: they were gonna build ’em no matter how lousy the results).

        The LCS’s, being a entirely new two classes, shouldn’t have major maintenance problems, yet they still take up an inordinate amount of dry-dock time for basic tasks.

        • Lazarus

          I agree that the first two LCS in particular have a number of significant issues. Despite those, the requirement for a USN small surface warship still needed to be filled and LCS was the best choice. Ever been aboard one? They are much as any other USN surface warship with lots of damage control equipment, standard WTD’s and small passageways to limit flooding.

          • PolicyWonk

            The requirement for a small surface combatant still exists, and despite blowing $36B+ on these LCS classes, as we’re only marginally (to be generous) better off than we were when the program started.

            The small passageways aren’t the concern: its the lack of compartmentalization, poor design, ultra high cost, complexity, lack of sufficient room for growth (or added protection), and high (and proprietary) maintenance expenses, and miserable ROI that bothers me. Then there’s the mission packages…

            The USN still requires an SSC – these may be shoved into that role (round peg, meet square hole) despite the poor design and far-higher-than-usual risk for the unlucky sailors ordered to man them (as you know, the USN’s own IG declared them “unlikely to survive the missions commanders were likely to assign them”).

            LCS should only be manned by volunteers, and granted hazardous duty pay, given the devil-may-care attitude of the PEO and the systemic deceit with in the program that got them built.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            It’s hard to say LCS was “the best choice” since the Navy never really defined it’s requirements!

            Nor did they conduct an AoA to determine what ship class could meet the requirements.

            Nor did they even down-select to a single design as planned. Instead, they built two very different hulls to do the same ill-defined missions.

          • Lazarus

            Agree they should have downselected to a single design. A follow-up analysis should have been conducted once the first LCS were built and the CONOPS changed to one where the modules were more or less permanent.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Negative, Laz. The CONOPS change to which you refer wasn’t made until late 2016. Milestone B (program start) was in April 2011.

            By the fall of 2016, there were around 18-20 LCSs built, laid down or awarded. It was way too late at that point for an AoA to have any sort of meaningful impact.

            The Navy should’ve halted the whole program in 2013/2014 – when it was apparent LCS simply wasn’t working out – and while they weren’t yet in serial production.

            It should’ve then conducted a capability based assessment (CBA) to determine what sort of Small Surface Combatant capabilites were actually needed/feasible.

          • Lazarus

            The assessment should have been done after the CONOPS changed regardless of an arbitrary acquisition schedule that is obviously inadequate to deal with major CONOPS changes in the middle of acquisition.

            It should also be noted that any AoA or other report is in the end at the mercey of the budget. There was no desire for a $700m frigate in 2007 by either the Navy or by lawmakers. Desire for a more “lethal” ship did not really occur until 2015. The acquisition schedule has to flex with these changes.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Acquisition schedules aren’t arbitrary. They are part of the program requirements signed off by the Milestone Decision Authority. Nor are AoAs and CBAs optional steps. DoD 5000.02 requires a CBA to decision to identify a need. The AoA is required prior to Milestone A.

            I’d argue that the need for LCS CONOPS changes resulted from insufficient up-front analysis. If you don’t really know what you want, then you’re probably not going to know how to use it!

            There are several programs that started at the same time as LCS, but actually did their analytical homework. I’m thinking P-8A, Virginia SSN. They’ve proven well suited and adaptable to Great Power competition — while LCS sits on the sidelines.

            Lastly, the desire for a more lethal and capable LCS was evident before 2015. See Senator McCain’s speech of April 9, 2014. Plenty of unofficial rumblings well before that.

          • Ziv Bnd

            LCS-1 and LCS-3 have had the worst problems, the Indy class has had issues but not as bad. I believe that LCS-2, the Indy herself, got a Bravo Zulu for its actions as plane guard in RIMPAC 2014. LCS-4 has actually done pretty well, doing many of the initial tests for the NSM.

          • Lazarus

            The LCS 2 variant has some very strong advantages in terms of operational range and mission module space layout.

  • Ctrot

    Would have been great to see a video of all those side grinders at work cutting through the welds holding her to the dock. Or did they use torches?

    • Duane

      Naw … too busy trying to pry the heads out of hindquarters from the tiny army of LCS trolls, required major cutting torches to complete the work.

      • Ctrot

        Oh the army of LCS realists is large, it’s you Little Crappy Ship sycophants who are in the minority.

        • Duane

          The only majority that counts is the US Navy, and the US Congress.

          • Ctrot

            And the shipyards political clout, don’t forget them.

        • ElmCityAle

          I see very few balanced, centered comments about LCS that follow the USNI articles. I almost can imagine the glee every time the staff publishes something about LCS: “…and there go our clicks, higher and higher!”

  • Mike Mulligan

    If the Navy would have taken your internal report seriously concerning the culture of the USS Fort Worth, you wouldn’t have had those two later collusions with tanker…

    It was a tell concerning the Navy’s readiness world wide…

    • Lazarus

      What culture on Fort Worth? They never collided with anyone.

    • PolicyWonk

      None of the LCS has been in a ship-to-ship collision to my knowledge – you might be confusing them with the two DDG’s that did, costing 17 American patriots their lives.

      Instead, the LCS fleets been safely tied (some say welded) to the piers in Mayport and San Diego.

      • Mike Mulligan

        So are some fast attack submarines. The commonality of the three ship issues are a failure in senior Navy leadership and political system to maintaining military readiness…

  • ElmCityAle

    At the end of the article, Sam mentioned, “USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) was used as a platform for Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) developmental testing…” Check out the latest test video from NAVSEA on youtube for some impressive results.

    • Very impressive video. If anyone else is looking for it the title is “USS Detroit — Surface to Surface Missile Module”

      • Ctrot

        So the LCS can defend itself against $25k bass boats using $120k missiles but what about OFFENSIVE power?

        • Well, those $25k bass boats almost sank an Arleigh Burke…

          • Ctrot

            You also conveniently ignored the real point.

          • And you conveniently ignored the fact that 1. there is a real need for these weapons and 2. LCS has already been tested with both Harpoon and NSM. But don’t let me get in the way of you LCS bashing.

          • Ctrot

            Tested with and deployed with are not the same thing.

          • Coronado has deployed with Harpoon.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The Navy says that the LCS will be deployed with NSM’s late next year, so it isn’t pie in the sky. It will happen, it will just happen 6 years late.

          • Duane

            There was never a requirement for LCS to feature OTH missiles. Never.

            The Navy, reacting to the obvious growing near peer naval threats from China in particular resulted in a new Naval strategy of “distributed lethality” that was not adopted until 2014, and remains current US Naval strategy today.

            Consequently the US Navy began testing both Harpoons (Block 1C) and Naval Strike missiles on LCS (the Coronado) beginning immediately in 2014, continuing through 2017. The Navy launched a procurement of OTH missiles in 2017, and selected a winner – Naval Strike Missile – last fiscal year (2018) and bought the first traunch of missiles and deck launchers.

            The first completed installations were initially planned to be completed by the end of this fiscal year – 2019 – but the Navy accelerated that schedule and the first installation is now scheduled for completion by mid-2019.

            The Navy additionally announced with the award of the OTH missile contract that, contrary to previous speculation, ALL LCS will be fitted with the NSMs and launchers, not just the SuW MM equipped ships.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The original concept was the 1000 ton ship proposed in 2001, which didn’t have OTH missiles. But the larger variants proposed in 2004 were supposed to have the NLOS missile that would have about 25 miles of range and that range would possibly increase via the use of the LAM variant. It would have been under-“gunned” with 25 mile missile range, but it would have been in the ballpark, at least. Now they are suicide ships if they run into an Iranian or Chinese missile boats. The LCS can’t see the enemy at long range and the LCS has only short range air defense since they have no VLS. Since the Chinese have aircraft with C4 capability, they can hit the LCS while the LCS can’t even fight back. It would be like the Chinese are clubbing baby seals, but those seals are our sailors who we are sending into harms way aboard a nearly defenseless ship.
            LCS-2 was christened in 2010. The fact that these ships won’t deploy with long range strike missile capability until next year is nearly criminally late. Testing is fine, but it should have been done years ago.

            Our LCS sailors deserve better.

          • ElmCityAle

            Again, you’ve refined the mission and therefore the mission requirements. LCS is not a frigate and was never designed to engage in such situations. The pro-frigate/FFG crowd refuses to accept that reality and rains down hate on LCS, but it’s an apple-and-oranges comparison that makes no sense. There is a reason that FFG(x) will be differently equipped than LCS, even if it uses one of the existing variant’s hull: it has a different mission.

          • Ziv Bnd

            I disagree entirely. The LCS was supposed to be be a multi-mission corvette/MCM craft. It was never a frigate, nor was it intended to be. But it should be able to defend itself. And as of now, it can not do so.

          • ElmCityAle

            It can defend itself against the defined opponents with the existing weapons systems (including the new VL ADM-114L). Full stop. Any other proposed scenarios are made up by people who want the ship to be something it isn’t – or want to criticize it based upon those false criteria. There is always room to improve, but that’s different than radically moving the goalposts to redefine the mission and associated requirements from what the customer – the US Navy – has already decided.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The LCS in in effect a corvette, and should be armed in a way that allows them to engage and destroy the enemy they are most likely to encounter. The PLAN Type 056 Jiangdao corvette is a likely foe. It is a smaller ship, just 1500 tonnes, but it carries 4 YJ-83 missiles with a range of 100 nautical miles. The Karakurt corvette displaces just 800 tons, but it deploys with 8 Kalibr missiles, that have ranges in excess of 150 nm. Iran has the Sina missile boats displacing 275 tonnes that are armed with 2 or 4 C-802 missiles with a range of 65 nm.

            Our allies have corvettes like the Braunschweig class at 1840 tonnes with 4 RBS-15 missiles with a range of 38 nm. Israel has the Sa’ar5 corvette, 1300 t., 8 Harpoons with a range of 67 nm. The Swedes have the Visby class, displacing 640 tonnes, armed with 8 RBS-15 Mk2’s, range 38 nm. The Norwegians have the Skjold class, arguably a corvette at just 274 tonnes, and even it has 8 Kongsberg Naval Strike Missiles with a range of almost 100 nm.

            If the LCS can’t strike or defend itself outside of the 6 to 7 nautical mile radius its current weapons systems can reach, the enemy can pick the moment of their choosing and destroy it like a hunter killing a baby seal.

            Why should the LCS be deployed without a weapon system type that our enemies in Iran are mounting on their missile boats displacing less than 10% what an LCS displaces? The Skjold and Sina missile boats/small corvettes show that this can be done, and it should be done for the LCS before they deploy to the South China Sea or to the Persian Gulf.

          • Aaron Schram

            The LCS is a deeply flawed design. It’s an outlandishly expensive gunboat. It doesn’t have the ability to be modular as it was intended due to the inability to train and keep current without swapping modules.The vast majority of the issues have been with over automation in order to reduce crew size. It’s not survivable due to lack of armor and when it does become a casualty it doesn’t have enough crew aboard to conduct proper damage control.

          • Duane

            Not flawed at all. It is the world’s finest, most capable, most lethal littoral combat warship, bar none, no other ship comes remotely close in capabilities.

          • Aaron Schram

            I hope you’re just trolling me or trying to make a joke. If you’re being serious, I’d be really interested to hear the information you’re basing those claims on.

        • Duane

          You mean that LCS can defend itself from the same kind of boat that nearly sank the far larger DDG-51 destroyer USS Cole back in 2000?

          I guess you are forgetting that the Iranian Navy consists mostly of hundreds of small attack craft armed with anti-ship cruise missiles capable of taking out of action a destroyer, cruiser, or even a CVN.

          It might just be a $25K bass boat, but it’s armed with a million dollar ASCM.

          • ElmCityAle

            This weapons system is for swarming small boats within a few miles range. If that is the profile of one opponent LCS will face, the short range of the AGM-114L doesn’t match the threat and another weapons system with longer range would be required (Rafael’s Spike NLOS, for example).

          • Duane

            The Hellfire Longbows are good to 5 nm range, which is just one of the several overlapping ranges of the multi-layered defensive and offensive weapons on LCS.

            Starting very long range, the radar guided Hellfires are also deployed from the MH-60 and the MQ-8C drone, capable of reaching out to more than 100 nm from the ship. The MQ-8B also fires the 2.75 APKWS with laser-guided rockets.

            That’s pretty damned long range firing!

            Then from inside 10 nm the Mk 110 57 mm gun system comes into play with its rapid firing (220 rpm) precision guided rounds capable of tracking moving targets – the only operational gun system in the world capable of doing that. These are dual mode precision guided rounds – either imaging IR or laser designated.

            Then from 5 nm and inside the 24-cell Hellfire launcher can begin.

            From 2 nm and inside the two Mk 46 30 mm cannons can begin, also with a high rate of fire (220 rpm), and radar ranger and all-weather electro-optical sighting.

            Inside 1 nm the two 50 call machine guns can begin. And the two 11-m RIBs also come with 50 cal mounts.

          • Ed L

            Has anyone here been able to hit anything less than 10 meters in length moving 30 knots with a M2 (50 caliber machine gun) at a distance of a 1000 yards? it’s not easy. Having observed practice by ships company back in the 80’s against bouy’s on an LPD moving at 15 knots. One holds the point of aim off the target and let the object move into the line of five. Not that easy unless the gunners get a lot of practice. Electronic sights are nice but remember when all else fails use the Irons

          • Duane

            With an M2 it’s not easy peasy.

            With the Mk 110 57mm gun with multi-mode all weather precision guided rounds (the Navy’s choice of ORKA or ALAMO) with 1 meter accuracy and with proximity fusing and blast frag effects (tens of thousands of steel or tungsten filaments), it’s easy peasy. One shot, one kill, up to 10 nm distant. A single detonation of that round completely destroys the entire topsides, and liquifies any occupants or equipment, on a typical go fast small craft.

            With Hellfire Longbows, as demonstrated in the You Tube vids (just look at them) it’s easy peasy.

            With the two Mk 46 30mm guns mounts with radar rangers and all weather electro optical sights, it’s easy peasy.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The effective firing range of the 57mm gun is 8500 m or almost 5 nautical miles, not 10 nautical miles. The Mk110 can fire a lot further than that, (17,000 m.) but getting a hit on a boat sized target would take a good bit of luck.

          • Duane

            Nope – effective firing range is 10 nm for the Mk 110.

            It takes no luck at all with precision guided munitions with a 1.0 m accuracy. The ORKA rounds, the first multi-mode precision guided rounds developed by BAE for the Mk 110 use continuously deployed guide fins which reduces their effective range to about 5 nautical miles due to the additional drag of the fins. But the newer ALAMO round fixes that issue by deploying the guide fins only in the terminal phase of the trajectory, eliminating most of the drag, and therefore have the same effective range as unguided rounds.

          • Ziv Bnd

            There is a huge difference between effective range, range and maximum range. Each is a completely different standard. The Mk 110 is able to hit a small target at 5 nautical miles, which is its effective range. It can also hit a large target, occasionally, at 8 nautical miles, its frequently advertised “range”.
            It can land shells in the water in the general vicinity of the target at 17 km./10 nm.
            There is no way in Hades that a Mk 110 is going to engage and destroy a small target at 9 or 10 nautical miles, without a boat load of luck.

          • ElmCityAle

            Sure, I’m aware of the various LCS weapons systems and their relatively short ranges. You offer a good point about air assets being able to engage with Hellfire missiles from farther away, which assumes that those aircraft are already armed and either flying or can be ready to launch quickly. There are limited to the missile load of the aircraft as well – usually 4 Hellfire missiles mounted on the left side of the MH-60 R or S models.

            The point I was making was that if the enemy small boats have longer range missiles (which you mentioned), the engagement range for most (all?) of the regular LCS weapons systems might be an issue.

          • Duane

            A small craft cannot see over the horizon .. indeed, small craft have relatively short horizon distances because even if they carry a radar, it’s very close to the water surface .. and can see maybe only 5-8 miles. The LCS has of course a much higher radar mast that can see out to 20+ miles and see the small craft long before the small craft can see the LCS. The LCS’s deployed aircraft are deployed specifically for that purpose. The two MQ-8 models have very long endurance – 8 hrs for the B, and 15 hours for the C – and can do vast radar sweeps from very high up in the air – 20,000 ft. So they can literally see out to 200 nm from their own position, plus their own picket distance from the ship.

            And the MH-60 and MQ-8s have the latest most sophisticated AESA synthetic aperture radars, plus FLIRs, so they can pick out both small craft and any launched wavetop skimming ASCMs from the sea scatter and provide very early warning.

          • ElmCityAle

            You don’t have to convince me, I think one of the most powerful capabilities of the LCS will be leverage multiple MQ-8 aircraft with the Telephonics AN/ZPY-4 multi-mode radar to “see ahead” without using the native TRS-3D radar (and it’s trackable emissions). I was just pointing out the aircraft can only act as advanced weapons platforms if they are already armed and airborne (or in some form of rapid deployment stand-by mode).

          • Ziv Bnd

            China’s Type 22 displaces just 220 long tons but they appear to have a C4 data link capability allowing the PLAN aircraft to target enemy forces and accurately engage them with the Type 22 boat’s missiles out to 65 or 100 nautical miles depending on which C-802 they are deployed with. Not as small as the Iranian IPS-18 but still relatively light.
            The LCS has to get a longer stick to fight back with. The NSM is pretty much the minimum weapon level needed.

          • Duane

            You’re kidding .. a NSM can disable a large surface warship with its 286 pound warhead.

          • Ziv Bnd

            Were you replying to my statement here, “The problem with the Hellfire is that its warhead is just 18-20 pounds, so it won’t disable mid-sized targets.” Because I was clearly talking about the Hellfire having the small warhead. I was calling for the LCS to deploy with the NSM due to its longer range, but the larger warhead is important too.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The problem with the Hellfire is that its warhead is just 18-20 pounds, so it won’t disable mid-sized targets. Plus the enemy knows when the helicopter is in the air and will avoid engaging until the helo lands to re-fuel. The MQ-8C will help a lot when it deploys on the LCS, since the MQ-8B payload is so small and its endurance relatively limited.

          • Duane

            Hellfires aren’t intended for destruction of warships.

            You realize that the Hellfire takes out heavily armored tanks with that same size warhead? Also, the warhead used in Hellfire is the same size as that used in the AIM-9X Sidewinder, which is capable of downing a heavy jet bomber.

            The far smaller warhead on the Mk 110 57 gun system has been proven to obliterate small surface craft of the type typically used by the Iranians. A mere 1.3 kg warhead with its 10,000 tungsten filaments at supersonic speeds converts every occupant of one of those small craft into bloody red human soup, and destroys the entire topside, knocks out engines etc.

            Just watch the You Tube videos described above showing the effects of the Hellfires on typical Iranian high speed small attack craft. Each one is converted to a huge plume of fire and smoke and debris on the horizon.

          • Ziv Bnd

            You just reinforced my point that the Hellfire is too small to destroy a middle sized ship, say a 220 ton ship, but it is sufficient to destroy a LAV or a Boghammer. Destroying a 60 ton tank or a relatively fragile jet is one thing, taking down a ship is something completely different.

            And we haven’t seen the newer Mk 110 57mm used against anyone in a real world environment. I hope it can do the job, but that remains to be seen.
            But the fact is that the Hellfire has the problem of short range AND small warhead size. The NSM makes up for both with regards to surface targets, but hasn’t been deployed. And the LCS can’t do squat about aircraft or sea skimming missiles beyond 5 or 6 miles. The LCS needs a VLS badly, otherwise it is a valuable target with extremely limited air defense capability.

          • Ctrot

            I see you ignored the real point of my post.

          • Duane

            A $5 munition that kills your ship is not a $5 munition – it is a $400M or a $2B loss, not to mention lost crew lives in the dozens or hundreds.

            And no, there’s no need to argue the long range offensive stuff, since the Navy has already taken care of that.

          • Bubblehead

            You just made everybody’s point Duane. Thx for getting with the program! The Iranian boats are armed with Rockets, ASCM, ATGM or even torpedo’s. All of which range is far greater than the LCS 30mm, Hellfire or pea shooter Mk110.

          • Duane

            You’re ignoring reality, dude, as usual.

            1 – the LCS deploys three to four aircraft, MH-60s and MQ-8Bs and MQ-8Cs that can range out to hundreds of miles.

            2 – the LCS deploys a multi-layered system of missile defenses and small craft defenses, both weapons, and sensors, both on ship and on the deployed aircraft.

            3 – a small craft cannot direct a ASCM beyond the horizon unless it has off-platform targeting data .. the missile may fly 100 miles (actually, most of the Iranian ASCMs are relatively short range missiles, at most a few tens of miles) but if the small boat doesn’t have a target to direct it to, the missile is useless. The LCS, of course, has its very long range sensors on its deployed aircraft .. which of course a small craft cannot deploy.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The Cole didn’t need a Hellfire missile to protect it. it needed someone onboard with some common sense to account for WHERE they were. Not to mention the failure of those who ordered them to such a craphole to begin with. They also had no reason to expect an attack, but neither did NYC on 9/11! And I shudder to think what would have happened to a LCS had one been in the place of the Cole that fateful day. But keep on with your lunacy about how the LCS is the greatest, most powerful vessel ever constructed. After all, fake news IS all the rage these days!

          • Duane

            Nobody is arguing that. But a small boat can pack a large punch if it is allowed to get close enough to fire a missile. That means, among other things, seeing the attackers before they see you, and killing them quickly and in large numbers in a very short period of time.

            The LCS suite of sensors, both on ship and on its deployed aircraft, as well as its multi-layered suite of weapons that have overlapping ranges from very long to very short range is the most effective means of both defense and offense.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Duane, I am confident that a Burke can handle a damned BOAT! NO SHIP can be expected to defeat anything of basic common sense protocols aren’t adhered to. THAT is the point!

        • ElmCityAle

          It appears to me that some critics of the LCS standard weapons systems are redefining the mission requirements differently that the US Navy. LCS mission requirements were not defined to be those of a “frigate”; those latter mission requirements have been defined for the FFG(x) program and are different. There is a program to add Naval Strike Missile launchers to LCS over the next few years; whether this makes sense according to the original mission requirements isn’t clear to me, but it does show that the platforms can be “up-gunned” over time, if the mission requirements change.

          • PolicyWonk

            LCS has only a very limited ability to add new armament or protection (100t). As a result of weight considerations, both the MCM and ASW mission packages had to be completely redesigned.

            But this isn’t surprising, given former CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenerts statement, that LCS was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”, which explains the lack of room for growth.

            Even so, given the first LCS was commissioned 10 years ago, and new ones coming off the slipways with a fair amount of regularity, yet they are apparently incapable of conducting mere “presence missions”, that shouldn’t even require the (very weak) SUW mission package to fulfill.

          • You realize that far from being “very limited” 100 tons is enough to mount a full 24 cell VLS fully loaded with TLAM?

          • Aaron Schram

            Weight alone isn’t the only issue, would also need to look at the CG for an install like that. Would need fire control and crew for the system as well.

          • Of course, I’m just pointing out that 100 tons is quite a bit.

          • PolicyWonk

            You realize the USN found that 100t limitation to be a very expensive and time consuming mistake – right?

            You can add weapons – or protections – but not both.

            The analysis commissioned by Breaking Defense found the limitations to be so bad that LCS could only be marginally improved in terms of either.

          • Ziv Bnd

            An 8 cell tactical length VLS would transform the LCS self defense capability and add an extra weapon to its long range surface strike capability. 16 cells would be phenomenal, maybe do 8 tactical length and 8 self defense length to keep the weight down. 24 cells might not be worth the extra weight they would entail. I realize that you weren’t actually recommending 24, just saying.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Is it this 12 April 2012 Breaking Defense article that you are referring to with your Greenert quote/paraphrase?

            “LCS Couldn’t Survive War With China, But It Could Help Prevent It: CNO”

            In the article Greenert is quoted as saying “These [LCS] 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,” A little further on in the article he is further quoted: “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.”

          • PolicyWonk

            No. Wrong article.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Could you point me towards the correct article?

          • Duane

            Greenert added that no US surface warship is capable of being sent safetly into A2/AD waters for independent operations. Not Arleigh Burkes, not CVNs, not Ticos, not nothing.

            Anybody who knows anything about surface warships knows that independent ops are only safe in uncontested waters. Safety in numbers, with overlapping defenses

            The ONLY warship capable of operating safely in A2/AD waters is a submarine.

          • Graeme Rymill

            I can only interpret Greenert’s comments in one way: that LCS, whether it be just a single ship or a whole LCS flotilla, are not going to be sent to anti-access areas in times of conflict. There is no mention of independent operations at least in the 12 April 2012 article in Breaking Defense. The Diplomat web site agrees with my interpretation. in an article in 2016 one of its authors commented “In 2012, then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert explained that the LCS was not intended to perform high-end combat missions
            against a peer adversary like the Chinese Navy. Instead, the LCS would
            perform regional presence and security operations, thereby freeing up
            more capable ships like destroyers and cruisers to perform high-end
            missions.”

          • Duane

            Greenerts statements need no “interpretation”. He was exceedingly clear.

          • Ziv Bnd

            An LCS got a Bravo Zulu (LCS-2 in RIMPAC 2014) from the CSG commander of the USS Reagan for its plane guard work, so they aren’t useless. But until they figure out how to make the CODAG work reliably, and arm them appropriately, they are going to be problematic.

            It sounds like they are getting better though. So here is hoping they figure out how to upgrade them to the point where they can at least do a respectable job of showing the flag. There are 25 of them either in commission or under construction, so finding a useful role for them is pretty darned important.

          • PolicyWonk

            I, too, am hopeful that some useful employment can be found for these two LCS classes. Up-arming/protecting them will always remain problematic, given they were never designed or built to handle weapons of significance, and as such lack sufficient room for growth.

            The unfortunate bottom line, is that since they are not built to naval survivability standards, both classes had to be issued legal waivers so they could be commissioned into the USN, and sending them into contested waters will endanger the crew. As I’ve pointed out in previous postings, the USN’s own IG declared that “neither class of LCS is likely to survive the missions commanders are likely to assign them…”.

            Otherwise, while I’m glad they’re improving, given the dismal performance of the class overall since first commissioning, they had nowhere else to go than up.

          • Duane

            Not true … LCS has over 100 tons of excess capacity for additional weapons. That is how it so easily accommodated the new OTH missiles, and the MSMM Hellfire Longbow launcher, did both easy peasy.

            The only mission module that was overweight, and only on the initial version, was ASW. That was corrected and the current ASW module which is now complete is within the weight guideline.

          • Christopher Perrien

            “CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenerts statement, that LCS was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”, ”

            “which explains the lack of room for growth.”

            Which also explains its name, Littoral Combat Ship , LOL,

          • Ziv Bnd

            I agree that the LCS was not intended to be a frigate, but it was supposed to be able to defend itself from surface and air threats. Right now it can only do so within a 5 to 6 mile radius. It really needs to deploy the NSM as soon as possible, and it sounds like it will do so late next year.

            But it could use a longer range air defense capability, badly. An 8 cell VLS would make a huge difference. It would give the LCS a corvette level of armament, instead of the gunship level it suffers from now. There are relatively tiny/cheap missile boats in the Iranian and Chinese navies that could sink an LCS from 50+ miles away and there isn’t much an LCS could do to defend itself other than hope that the SeaRAM doesn’t get overloaded as the enemy launches 3 or 4 missiles at them..

          • Duane

            You do realize that the ship is at the center of that radius, don’t you? You don’t need long range defenses for a single ship, or “point defense”. You only need longer ranged defenses when a ship is protecting a wide area of waters with other escorted ships to defend. Just like Ticos and ABs defend CVNs and the other ships, including auxiliaries, that make up a CSG.

        • USNVO

          Actually, since the Army bought so many for the Apache Longbow and then didn’t use them, at least the first few thousand are free! If anything, the US Government saves money from not having to demil them. There is some minor costs associated with program management, but that is pretty small. Same for the 30mm rounds compliments of the USAF. Now, when it is time to buy new ones or replace them with JAGMs, then it will get pricey.

          • Hellfire is pretty cheap, with the FY19 budget putting them at $56k each. At that price a full SSMM load of 24 is $1.3m – significantly less than a single ESSM ($1.7m) or two RAM ($1.6m).

          • Bubblehead

            Im glad the Hellfires are cheap but that doesn’t solve the problem of the $700 million dollar ship that is worthless.

          • Duane

            No need to solve a problem that does not exist.

            Next?

          • Ziv Bnd

            Both LCS types need long range strike and have ever since the NLOS was cancelled. The Navy has tested both the Harpoon and the Kongsberg/NSM on the LCS and they both worked well, apparently. The NSM won the competition and will deploy late next year. Finally. 100 nautical mile range will give the LCS exactly what they needed with regards to long range strike. Now they really need some form of air defense against aircraft and sea skimming missiles that can engage the enemy at longer range than the CIWS/SeaRAM. Waiting for an C802/Exocet to get within 5 miles of the ship before it is engaged is a bad idea. An 8 cell VLS would be the perfect answer but it will probably take another 6 years for it to be deployed.

          • Duane

            A surface warship that is not tasked with escorting other surface ships does not need anything but point defenses against missile and aircraft. The longer ranged missile defense systems used on Tico and Arleigh Burke (and will be used on the FFGX) are for area air defenses – i.e., protecting other ships, not itself. LCS is not an escort ship other than for ASW.

          • Ziv Bnd

            That is a silly statement with regards to a surface warship not needing anything but point defense. I guess you are right, in one way, though. If you don’t mind losing the warship, having short range missile defense and not having a longer range missile defense is fine. You are more likely to lose the ship, but it will cost less to deploy. The 5 or 6 mile SeaRAM defense radius takes just 30 seconds for an Exocet to cover. Good luck with your SeaRAM. Your life depends on it being able to knock down every missile within 30 seconds. You will probably get the first, but will you stop the second, or the third?
            Wouldn’t you rather engage the enemy at 100 nautical miles, knock most of the sea skimmers down and then again at 6 nautical miles if the first layer of your air defense missed one or two? I know most people would rather have two tools to save their lives instead of just one. The LCS is a corvette replacement and needs to operate on its own. If it is going to survive, it needs to be able to see its enemy early, engage that enemy at long range and then defend itself at short range if the long range strike and the long range defense fails. Because it will fail more often than we want to imagine.

            “Does not need anything but point defense?” LOL!

          • Duane

            Not a silly statement at all. It is reality. It is what drove the requirements for LCS being different than FFGX. LCS is not a SuW escort ship, FFGX is, by the Navy’s requirements. LCS does not have a VLS with area air defense capability, just like the requirements say … and FFGX does.

            Adding area air defenses is not cheap – it is why FFGX will cost at least 50% more than LCS.

          • Duane

            There is no such problem.

          • PolicyWonk

            I personally like the Box O Hellfire idea, and believe it should be installed on every asset the USN has that floats in waters other than those of CONUS.

            OTOH, this would ruin one of the primary missions that LCS was supposed to be good for.

          • Not really. Put SSMM on a larger ship and its a self defense weapon, put it on a maneuverable 45 knot shallow draft ship and it can be used to protect other assets in the littorals.

          • DaSaint

            Is that cost for the navalised VL version?

      • Duane

        Reminds me of the line in “Apocalypse Now”: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

        Make that, “I love the sight of swarming burned out hulks on the horizon in the morning.”

        Note in the videos showing the MSMM the pair of Mk 46 30 mm guns situated aft … any small boats that make it through the screen of 24 radar-guided Hellfire Longbows that don’t miss, they then have the 440 rounds per minute of 30 mm HEX rounds to deal with from LCS.

        Plus another 220 rpm of precision guided hellfire coming from the Mk 110 57 mm gun.

        • Bubblehead

          Those Hellfires have a range of 4km max, the 30mm less. It doesn’t take a very large small boat to install rocket lauchers or torpedoes which would make the LCS little more than an expensive POS target.

          Of course it is all theoretical since the LCS can never make it off the pier.

          Duane is like a parrot that was trained by Lockheed Martin to spit out the same old cliche fake bullet points that so far have proven false. I mean you have to be absolutely delusional to say just about anything positive about the LCS.

          I mean at a time when the USN is absolutely begging for more warships, the USN is also begging Congress to stop funding more of these “things”. That pretty much tells you all you need to know.

          • Duane

            5 nm on the Longbows.

            The 30 mm is up to two miles.

            And the LCS always make it off the pier … it is only in your fevered dreams, and they are really quite fevered, that they don’t.

            You really ought to go work for one of Putin’s Chef’s troll farms in St. Petersberg – you are just as delusional as his typical internet troll paid in vodka shots.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Longbows, Duaney?

            AH-64 radars are used by the USN?

          • Never heard of the Longbow Hellfire? It’s the variant that introduced radar guidance.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Nope.

            AGM-114K Hellfire II.

            No such thing as a “Longbow Hellfire”. It’s a civvie nickname.

            https://www DOT globalsecurity DOT org/military/systems/munitions/agm-114-var.htm

          • May want to tell the Army that. From asc dot army dot mil – “The Longbow HELLFIRE (AGM-114L) is also a precision strike missile using Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar guidance instead of the HELLFIRE II’s SAL. It is the principal anti-tank system for the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter”

          • Andy Ferguson

            You may want to tell the manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin.

            “PRNewswire

            ORLANDO, Fla.

            Lockheed Martin’s new multi-functional AGM-114R HELLFIRE II missile scored a direct hit during its first proof-of-principle (POP) flight test recently at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. The HELLFIRE II design, now entering the qualification phase, features a new multi-purpose warhead that enables a single missile to cover all of the target sets of the current laser-guided HELLFIRE II variants.”

            Thanks for coming out.

          • Duane

            They are Longbows … the version of Hellfire that uses a mm wave radar for targeting.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Nope….

  • Duane

    I would expect that the work done in this availability included a lot more than just the diesel engine repairs. The oldest LCS is now 10 years old since it was delivered, so likely was due for a major maintenance availability. New equipment was also installed, including the Navy’s newest ECM equipment – SEWIP, and an upgrade to the battle management system to COMBATTS-21, and other updates to ready it for the latest additions in weapons and sensors, including the OTH missile launchers, SSMM launcher, etc.

    • Any evidence for those claims?

      • thebard3

        NO.

      • Duane

        I didn’t make a make a “claim”. I stated “I would expect …”.

        These are systems that are in fact being retrofitted to the older LCS to bring them into compliance with current installed equipment on the new construction ships.
        The Navy (NAVSEA) declared last June when it awarded the OTH missile contract that it is installing the OTH missiles on ALL LCS, regardless of mission module it carries. Lockheed Martin states on its COMBATTS-21 webpage that it is installing and/or retrofitting the COMBATTS-21 system on all LCS, regardless of which variant, and of course LM builds the Freedom variant. Source for the SEWIP installation on Freedom in 2016 is the Wiki page on the SLQ-32 ECM system.

        It’s natural and logical to do these updates during a major maintenance availability.

        • Just because it is logical does not mean that the Navy is doing it. The Lockheed and Wikipedia pages I just checked make no mention of your claims. Further, there is no photographic evidence of SLQ-32 antenna on LCS-1.

          • Duane

            I saw both. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places – it happens.

          • I do wish USNI would let us post links, it would make things so much easier.

          • Duane

            Agreed. I suppose they’re worried about readers getting diverted from usni and the news site .. but I rather suspect that won’t distract us that much

          • Graeme Rymill

            If you Google “Combatss-21” the Lockheed Martin COMBATSS-21 page is the first result you should see. In the 2nd paragraph it states “COMBATSS-21, is the Aegis-derived combat management system that will be integrated on all U.S. Navy littoral combat ships and frigates.” The URL has “2016” in it which makes me wonder if events over the last three years have overtaken this statement. No other online source that I could locate, including CRS reports, repeats this claim.

            Duane’s other claim that the “source for the SEWIP installation on Freedom in 2016 is the Wiki page on the SLQ-32 ECM system” is wrong. Wikipedia simply states “SEWIP Block 2 was tested on USS Freedom in December 2014” As a test installation it is possible that it has since been removed from USS Freedom. You pointed out that the photographic evidence supports this. Since that 2014/15 test online information on installing SLQ-32 on any LCS has dried up. I have looked at the Navy’s FY19 Budget Justification Book for Shipbuilding and Conversion. These budget papers show funding for AN/SLQ-32(V)6 for CVN-79 &CVN-80, for DDG-1000 & DDG-1002, for 3 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, for LHA 8 and for LPD 28 & 29. No mention of LCS though.

          • Duane

            A test installation is an installation.

        • ElmCityAle

          It would be interesting to see something more definitive from the Navy about “retrofitting the COMBATTS-21” to the other LCS class. That’s no small amount of systems engineering and integration involved.

          • Duane

            It’s certainly easier to build it in to a new hull. But essentially, COMBATTS-21 is just a computer system. The data inputs and outputs presumably would be similar, if not the same as in the original equipment battle management system. Of course, quite a few new weapons and sensors have been added to the LCS since 2008 when the first ship, the Freedom, came off the ways. There was no MSMM, no OTH missile system, even the SeaRAM was brand new in 2008. The radars have evolved too. It’s a constant struggle with ships to keep them updated, because the stuff keeps getting better, which is good, but it doesn’t integrate itself – it take money and yard time.

          • ElmCityAle

            Every sensor system on the Independence class is different, starting with one of the most important, the main radar unit. It has different computers to process the data, different displays/consoles, etc. It will be no small amount of work to integrate COMBATSS-21, but if it can be done, it would have the obvious advantage of simplifying the training and use of a single fire control system across both variants of LCS. Have you heard anything about whether USS INDIANAPOLIS LCS 17 is on track to have the newer TRS-4D radar system?

  • jack anderson

    this is the most pitiful article i have seen this year, it takes TWO YEARS to fix a diesel? Heaven help us if she is battle damaged.

    • Duane

      This availability certainly included a much longer list of work items than just to replace a diesel.

      On the Monsoor, replacing the engine was virtually the sole work item for a brand new ship that hadn’t even been accepted by the Navy or completed a shakedown cruise yet.

      • jack anderson

        in WW11 we could build a Fletcher class in 90 days and a Liberty Ship in 10 while 12,000,000 men were in the service and at a time when BUSHIPs had 400 employees, today NAVSEA has 22,000.

        • No one was building Fletchers in 90 days. At the end of production, the fastest shipyards were averaging around 6-7 months from laying the keel to commissioning while the smaller shipyards were averaging 8-9 or even 11-12 months.

          Keep in mind that this was under wartime conditions and after over 150 of these ships had been built. Further, the Fletchers were 2/3 the size of an LCS and were far a simpler design that incorporated almost no electronics.

          Liberty ships averaged around 40 days and cannot in any way be compared to a warship.

          • Ed L

            Actually there are videos The first ships required about 230 days to build (Patrick Henry took 244 days), but the average eventually dropped to 42 days. The record was set by SS Robert E. Peary, which was launched 4 days and 15​1⁄2 hours after the keel was laid, although this publicity stunt was not repeated: in fact much fitting-out and other work remained to be done after the Peary was launched.

          • That’s straight from Wikipedia and confirms what I said – Liberty ships averaged around 40 days to build (not the 10 that you initially claimed).

          • Andy Ferguson

            Wrong-i-pedia is your source?

            Problem, identified.

          • jack anderson

            i stand corrected;

            USS Hudson* DD475

            1942-2-20 — Laid Down, Boston Navy Yard

            1942-6-3 — Launched, Boston Navy Yard

            1943-4-13 — Commissioned at Boston Navy Yard

            1945-5-4 — Severely damaged off Okinawa while fighting fires aboard the heavily damaged escort carrier Sangamon. Repaired and returned to duty

            1946-5-31 — Decommissioned at San Diego

            1947-1 — Moved to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California

            1972-12-1 — Stricken

            1973-11-27 — Sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations, Inc., Portland, Oregon

            1973-12-14 — Scrapped by Zidell Explorations, Inc., at Tacoma, Washington

            DD475

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      They had to replace the entire engine after a crew broke it..

      • NavySubNuke

        The scary part is how long it took to deal with all of these issues while the ships are still in production. Just imagine 10 – 15 years from now long after the lines have shutdown when yet another crew makes the engine room eat itself thanks the to the over complicated design.
        If we think replacing this stuff now is fun – just think of how much fun it will be after the last planned spare engine is used and the Navy has to go out and reopen and re-qualify the production line for more….

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          No, I hate to break it to you buddy and mess up your narrative, but that diesel engine is very standard and a very standard mech seal leak was turned into a catastrophe by an untrained crew.

          • NavySubNuke

            I’m happy to have my musing disrupted by good news. I am glad to hear at least the diesel engines will be able to be procured and replaced easily. The comment still stands for the other more exotic parts of engine room though.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Diesel engines, reduction gears and gas turbines even in CODAG are not exotic in the maritime world. The USN May think anything that’s not 1960s technology is “exotic”.

        • Jack D Ripper

          maybe Russian diesels?

      • old guy

        In the old days they coulc have replaced the whole ship. in that time.

    • siempre44

      The LCS are essentially coast guard cutters ..that cost $400 million. The Navy has already declared the ships cannot be used in “contested environments “— which means combat. These ships are built of such thin material that they are expected to sink if hit with any weapon…even a thirty caliber machine gun would go right through the hull. In fact, Coast Guard cutters are far more rugged and survivable. It is likely the LCS would be destroyed just by rough seas they are built so thin.

      • jack anderson

        Perhaps more Fletchers would be a better choice, the dependable 600 lb steam plants were good for nearly 40 knots with 4 boilers on the line and they were armed with 5 dependable 5.38 guns that were excellent shore bombardment weapons. Granted, it was a larger crew but a good black gang could fix just about everything except the reduction gears without going into the yard.

      • Buisness Orc

        ” It is likely the LCS would be destroyed just by rough seas they are built so thin.”

        awful lot bull$^#* floating around here

      • PolicyWonk

        LCS cost’s FAR more than $400M. The base cost is $565M+, not counting post acceptance yard work, or any mission package, that on average brings the cost of each LCS to $912M.

        None of that includes the sky-high, proprietary maintenance.

        • Duane

          Base cost is $350M, average hull price across the 11-ship block buy for Freedom variant. The cost of the Independence variant is approx. $100M more, again, across the 11 ship block buy contract.

          The additional ships ordered since the two 11-ship block buys are the same price with a nominal allowance for inflation.

          Mission modules range from under $50M to about $100M .. SuW and ASW being the under $50M, and MCM, with all its additional unmanned systems, at $100M.

        • Lazarus

          You figures are wrong as usual. Post acceptance yard work (all ships get such) is not part of the initial price and no mission package planned or yet available costs more than $120m.

          • NavySubNuke

            The FY2017 SAR report that documents the Nunn-McCurdy breach by the mission modules explicitly states the total cost of the LCS mission module program as $6,478.7 million. Remember, this is an official report provided by the Navy to congress to document the programs Nunn-McCurdy breach not some unofficial estimate.
            The report also states that we are buying 48 modules — 44 deployable modules and 4 test modules.
            $6478.7M/48 = $134M average module cost
            If you look at only the modules that will be deployable:
            $6478.7M/44 = $147M average module cost
            For those who want to see DoD’s report look here, just get rid of the extra spaces around the “.” :
            https://media . defense . gov/2018/Apr/03/2001898705/-1/-1/1/DECEMBER-2017-SAR-PRESS-RELEASE.PDF

          • Lazarus

            The average cost $$ are wrong and based on dated estimates. No single module currently is rated at more than $120m. The numbers you suggest may have some personnel costs rolled in that are not usually listed as part of the platform cost. Creative accounting designed to make LCS look more expensive than it really is.

          • NavySubNuke

            Of course, Nunn-McCurdy breaches happen all the time so DoD/DoN certainly used bad data and old numbers… that makes total sense!
            It isn’t that your average mission module cost low balls the cost by excluding common support investments or under counting R&D Dollars…. that would never happen!

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Ah yes. Clearly it’s a conspiracy. Except for the fact that SAR data comes from the Navy budget.

        • old guy

          No, the greatest cost is Navy’s compromised capability.

      • Duane

        Nope, nope, nope. LCS are the worlds most capable and lethal littoral warships.

        Cutters are not warships at all.

        • Ziv Bnd

          LOL! The “worlds most capable and lethal littoral warships” can’t engage an enemy beyond 7 or 8 nautical miles. Seriously?
          Yet the less capable and oddly more lethal missile boats our enemies possess are capable of engaging the LCS at 20, 40 or 60 nautical miles and the only hope that the LCS crew has is that the short ranged SeaRAM will work perfectly against the missiles that are heading towards them. The LCS needs help and they need it soon, if they are going to be deployed next year. Sending an under-gunned ship to Singapore is one thing, sending it to the South China Sea or the Persian Gulf is another. The LCS is a turkey waiting to be slaughtered right now. Get it long range strike with the NSM and long range air defense with the VLS and it will be a much better ship.

          • Duane

            LOL all you like. You cannot point to a single littoral warship that has anywhere remotely near the capabilities the LCS possesses, in terms of weapons, sensors, defenses, hull capability, etc. in its three assigned roles of SuW, ASW, and MCM … not anywhere remotely close.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          LCSs aren’t even the most capable littoral combatants on the North American continent. See what Mexico is buying.

      • Gregory Dittman

        Frigates were never meant for combat and the closest they came to combat was to protect destroyers in WW2 up to Vietnam. Many ships are expensive to operate. The money to run an aircraft carrier for one year can buy three of these ships.

        The purpose of the LCS is to serve as an anti mine and anti sub ship. It can be used as a scout, for anti piracy, for anti smuggling, for search and rescue, for humanitarian missions and to put SOF troops on land. These tasks now are being done by destroyers, cruisers and assault ships.

        • James B.

          Huh???

          Frigates (Destroyer Escorts until 1975) were built as low-cost antisubmarine warships, and saw plenty of combat in that role. Since they were plentiful, they also saw plenty of action in other missions and modifications. They were optimized to be cheap and simple, so they were never the fastest or best equipped warships, but the excelled at missions where superlative performance was less important than area coverage and persistent presence.

          The LCS is not cheap or simple, and they will never be numerous enough to overcome weak individual performance. They are so flawed because panic over Iranian small boats convinced the idea fairies that the LCS had to be FAST!!!, regardless of the cost, complexity, and design tradeoffs needed.

          The LCS is therefore well designed to run away, but lacks much ability to shoot back. Against mines, shore batteries, and other slow/immobile threats, the massive and complex powerplant of the LCS is expensive dead weight.

          You are correct that of all the US Navy ships performing missions they weren’t built for, the LCS is one of the cheaper alternatives, but still more expensive and less effective than ships actually designed for the roles. Slightly-less-expensive mediocrity is still mediocre, and still expensive.

          • Lazarus

            LCS are cheaper than just about any USN ship excepting PC’s and MCM’s. $568m is frankly a steal given all the work that goes into a single ship.

          • James B.

            Do you remember the line from the old Men’s Wearhouse commercials: “the most expensive suit you’ll ever buy is the one you only wear once”?

            The LCS is like that–inexpensive until you find out how little use you’ll get out of it.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            The $568M figure you quote is just the seaframe. Once you add in mission packages, an LCS is around $650M.

            Also – an LCS is A LOT more expensive than either a PC or an MCM. A Cyclone would probably cost around $75M today. An Avenger would probably be around $200M. So basically for the price of 1 LCS we could’ve gotten 8 PCs or 3 MCMs.

            Let’s consider the following:
            1. The current LCS CONOPS is that each ship is single mission. No reconfiguring from say SUW to MCM.
            2. An LCS (or any ship) can only be in one place at a time.
            3. Hughes’ salvo equations show the advantage in numbers of ships and disaggregation in combat.

            LCS is hardly a bargain. It’s essentially a hermaphrodite: too expensive for the low-end missions and not capable enough for the high-end. It’d make far more sense to procure large numbers of cheaper ships.

          • PolicyWonk

            LCS is only “cheaper” when you look at the relative costs, and ignore the fundamental problems.

            However, when you take into account the fact that they cannot realistically in included into the battle fleet (without endangering the crew), while simultaneously sucking up an inordinate number of resources for supporting maintenance, training, logistics, pier and dry-dock space, plus the high acquisition costs and appalling ROI: LCS quickly becomes the most expensive collection of ships in the USN.

            And “steal” is a good term to describe the LCS program, but describing the program is more accurate when combined with terms like “thievery”, “defrauding the taxpayers”, and “corporate welfare program”.

            Otherwise, “steal” refers to getting a bargain. LCS, no matter how you slice it, is no bargain. And even the USN says so, when it describes LCS as “the program that broke naval acquisition”.

    • Lazarus

      Given that 3 SSN’s are currently unfit to dive and that multiple ships have missed planned overhauls and maintenance periods, is it a surprise that an equipment test vessel gets low priority? LCS 1 was also getting a major upgrade to make her more “survivable” as well. You just cannot please anyone can you?

      • PolicyWonk

        Many of the worst problems with LCS could be solved if you replaced the commercial-grade sea-frame (and overly complex/unreliable propulsion system contained therein).

        However, this is akin to claiming you fixed a “lemon” car by removing the radiator cap, and replacing car underneath it, and claiming your “fixed” it.

    • Lazarus

      It’s a question of priorities and lack of maintenance capabilities. If we consider that 3 submarines are incapable of diving, then it is not surprising that a test ship is of low priority for restoration.

      • jack anderson

        i was in the Navy during Zumwalts “high/Low” and it was my understanding that LCS was “low”, a low cost, simple, expendable ,warship yet it seems that they must be pretty complex if it takes two years to replace one engine! Another consideration may be manning level, in those days the black gang could fix everything but the reduction gears and if the ship were dry-docked for bottom pain, ship’s company did most of the work . These modern, small crews seem overwhelmed!

        • Lazarus

          Complexity of the ship is not the issue as much as maintenance and amount of damage. Freedom’s actual diesel was replaced over a year ago. She also got an upgrade package. Crews will however keep getting smaller as people are the Bavy’s largest cost and lawmakers seem little interested in financing larger military organizations.

          • jack anderson

            True, the Navy i joined in 1972 was loudly proclaiming $241 per month as starting pay. I was shocked to meet a modern day PO2 who had a new car and his own apartment, i drove a Volkswagen I had built and lived with about a dozen guys off the ship as that was all we could afford

    • old guy

      GI,GO!

    • old guy

      You just don’t understand. This is part of SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare incentive Program, Expensive.)

      • jack anderson

        EXCELLENT, never heard that one, sadly necessary as American shipbuilding is not even a whisper of what it once was. However, i would more readily support this corporate welfare were not CEOs paying themselves $100,000 per day.

  • Ed L

    Testing platforms? Cool, let’s test out a 76mm and a 127mm on them.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    2 years. Hooray…

  • Bryan

    In the spirit of, “Getting something out of this fiasco program” it is good to see things moving forward with ssmm and fixing some self inflicted wounds. 3-5 miles for Hellfire isn’t much but at least during peacetime it can give Iran and China something to think about before bumping gunwales.

    In the spirit of, “These things will never be a good war ship” but the Navy desperately needs ships in the Arabian Gulf and SCS. Even an up gunned patrol boat/cutter for peacetime patrol will help. Turning them into expensive upgunned auxiliaries is better than nothing. Which is what we have right now.

    Having some NSM and EM (if they can fit it in?) would help on a first day of war/tactical retreat scenario.

    NSM leads into, how to target. We could use the rotary craft but it’s expensive and maintenance intensive for long term use. I wonder if something like the marines blackjack or civilian version wouldn’t be cheaper and give the ship more persistent OTH ISR and targeting?

  • Bryan

    In the spirit of, “Getting something out of this fiasco program” it is good to see things moving forward with ssmm and fixing some self inflicted wounds. 3-5 miles for Hellfire isn’t much but at least during peacetime it can give Iran and China something to think about before bumping gunwales.

    In the spirit of, “These things will never be a good war ship” but the Navy desperately needs ships in the Arabian Gulf and SCS. Even an up gunned patrol boat/cutter for peacetime patrol will help. Turning them into expensive upgunned auxiliaries is better than nothing. Which is what we have right now.

    Having some NSM and EM (if they can fit it in?) would help on a first day of war/tactical retreat scenario.

    NSM leads into, how to target. We could use the rotary craft but it’s expensive and maintenance intensive for long term use. I wonder if something like the marines blackjack or civilian version wouldn’t be cheaper and give the ship more persistent OTH ISR and targeting?

    • Ed L

      Hellfires good for chokpoints

      • Bryan

        It’s good for many things out to five miles. One of the tiring things about lcs is the extremes. I’ve blocked people on many sites because it’s either lcs can do no wrong or every single thing about the lcs program was wrong. Both extremes get blocked. A few of the things about lcs would work well but were done wrong. The strategic reason for lcs, mostly wrong. Okay, so what. We know that, let’s move on. LOL.

        • Well, you might block me for this (if you haven’t already) but I think the strategic reason for LCS was correct. Navies have always needed cheapish patrol vessels that can operate independently in low to moderate threat areas and enter the shallow waters that larger warships cannot. Using a single hull for ASuW, ASW, and MCM was also logical given the extreme difficulty we have with getting programs past the bureaucratic mess that is procurement. While there are some minor debatable points about design and armament (I would have really liked to see a 5″ gun for one), overall LCS does successfully meet the requirements of its intended mission.

          • Bryan

            I’m not trying to be rude, but you’re part of the problem. If there were no self inflicted wounds to the lcs it would be a cutter/corvette hull with one mission at a time. The problem with the strategy was….the hull, mine, asw, surface warfare module would equal how much money? When we add all that money up it would equal a ddg that could do all those things at once. Because the hull can only be one place at a time and can’t handle the weight of the module it complicates the issue while driving up the cost. That sir is a strategic failure.

            Now you talk about patrol boats. The world is fat with patrol boats. Heck even the U.S. had a hand in making one for Egypt. One good thing about making small boats is that they are inherently dead ends. That allows the navy to experiment with little risk and to modify them to the geographic environment. So we’ve seen the Navy get away with using low end patrol boats in the gulf because of the lcs fiasco. So we could dumb down the Ambassador we made for Egypt and have a small ship to do surface warfare. It could easily be outfitted with the LCS surface warfare module for the price of an lcs hull. That would include EW also. We could also use an off the shelf drone for targeting in the gulf, eastern med, Black Sea, etc. We could then buy something like an EPF that would allow for off the shelf (no need to modify for weight) ASW packages and Mine hunting. Of course no idiot in congress ever thought to question the fact that if/when the mine hunting module was done it would fit on all our combat ships. They never thought, “then why the heck do we need the lcs hull?” LOL. Suckers.

            Of course the last laugh is on the Navy. Can’t afford that, “Laser” because congress fell in love with made in every state lcs. Hehehe….suckers.

            So we have a choice about our lcs program managers. 1. They are foreign agents trying to destroy us. 2. They are ignorant fools who made a hull that could not handle the weight of the modules. 3. They were using a decades old trick on congress. The trick is to build the hull first and then ask for the unproven stuff. There is a good chance the Navy wanted to fundamentally change how we did mine hunting and asw. The trick as we’ve seen is, “Hey you can cancel the program but we won’t have any mine hunting in the entire USN.”

            It’s the Navy version of the AF building a kick asp airfield that has a dirt runway and no control tower. But the movie theater and bowling alley is done.

          • I’ll throw that back at you – you’re part of the problem because you’ve bought into the idea that the only thing that matters is full scale war.

            Not patrol boats – patrol ships. Something like the gunboats of the steam navies or the sloops of the age of sail. A vessel capable of independent operations, showing the flag, hunting pirates, supporting low intensity wars, etc. There is a whole lot short of full scale war that can be more economically done by LCS than by a frigate or destroyer and even in a full scale war smaller less capable ships will have vital roles.

            The rest of your comment is simply uniformed and does not represent reality. LCS is a one mission at a time ship and always has been. Putting all of that into a destroyer that could do everything at once would defeat the entire purpose of smaller cheaper ships to build numbers. Finally, the USN is not trying to scam Congress – in fact, Congress, not the Navy, is the reason the modules are behind schedule.

          • Bryan

            First you didn’t read my reply all the way through. You missed the part where I agreed that there is a place for small patrol ships. My example was a 200 foot Ambassador and our EPF. Both cheaper and off the shelf ready for the weight. It doesn’t mean those have to be the hulls. Just easy examples.

            The problem with the lcs is that is is strategically flawed. It doesn’t work unless we spend almost 2 billion dollars for it and the modules. And of course it doesn’t work because of the weight problem. There is a better way that actually works for that price with off the shelf products and not having to shoe horn the modules into the hull. It’s a crappy idea that was flawed from the beginning.

          • You may profess neutrality but you’re coming across as just another LCS hater – “the mission is wrong, the ship is wrong, things don’t work, and the Navy is either inept or scamming Congress.”

            None of your alternatives are realistic either. The Ambassador is a 63m coastal boat and the EPF is a high speed lightweight transport. If you want an ship to fill the role of LCS it is going to look and cost like LCS.

          • Bryan

            Well up front I did classify the lcs program as a fiasco. So there’s that. But that doesn’t mean there are not some good ideas about it. It was just put together wrong. And of course we have the totally screwed up way the Navy decided to try multiple experiments at the same time. Some of which were fighting each other. Nothing like taking a flawed idea and then implementing it in the most bizarrely foolish way.

            So could I agree that we need to change the way we mine hunt? Sure. could I agree that we could make a smaller ship for surface warfare and as a sub hunter and as a mine warfare ship? Sure but it’s going to take a new way of hunting mines and put it on a frigate sized ship.

            What if I just want to do one at a time? You have to make sure the, “New way” works as advertised. If you don’t want to wait then you must make sure the new hull can do the, “Old way” of mine hunting. Just get a hull that can take the weight. An example (just an example) is to use a EPF that has 600 metric tons of weight allowance. Trade space fuel and modules weight with 20% extra for each. More than enough. And make it cheap. Even over engineered the EPF is 1/3 the hull price of lcs. No I want to swap stuff out.

            Why in the Sam’s heck would you want to do that? It will drive up price and cause more problems than it’s worth. But if you’d like add up the weight of each, “module” and make sure your hull can take the heaviest one.

            I’m the LCS program manager: “Why would I want to make sure my hull can take the heaviest module? I’m going to be on the cutting edge with light weight stuff”

            Me: Because you’re an idiot…And I’m blocking you for the strategic and tactical God you are not…

          • The EPF costs what it does because it is a lightly built transport that has no sensors or weapons. That might work if all you want it an auxiliary minesweeper, but it doesn’t give you any more hulls for patrol work. You’re not going to get a ship that is capable of independent operations that costs much less than LCS.

            In hindsight, LCS could have been better managed by adopting a more conservative approach. However, it could also have been better managed by actually building and deploying the damn things. The vast majority of problems have not been technical, but political. The cancelling of planned module components, the ever changing deployment pattern, the lack of a downselect, even the anemic build schedule (14 ships in 10 years is insanely bad) were all dictated by Congress and the Pentagon. We could easily have been we we are now back in 2012 if anyone in Washington actually considered the Navy a priority.

          • Bryan

            It’s funny you mentioned that I’m stuck on thinking about full scale war. If you think about what I’m saying, nothing could be further from the truth. I think the military, not just the Navy, could benefit from a forward peacetime presence and a stand off, better protected wartime presence. The change from wartime footing and peacetime is huge for any ship.

            But in a time of budget problems and an even rosy outlook for the future budget being even more negative, it is not improper to ask, how will we use our larger ships during peace and war.

            So I like the idea of small ships as up gunned presence. But they don’t do much during war. One of the good things about something like the OHP frigates were they had a plan to help during war. Don’t get me wrong, during war we will use everything we can. But looking at something like a level 2 survival ship and a level 1 shows that during war we end up choosing to ignore a sinking ship or ignoring a badly damaged ship that can hold it’s own until the battle is over. We often in peacetime minimize that idea. But it can be the difference between winning and losing.

            What I’m saying is, small ships are important until we want to build 52 of them at the expense of wartime ability. We are treating our current budget environment like it’s the Regan build up. That would be a foolish mistake for our nation.

          • Bryan

            And lastly, are you suggesting we put a 5″ gun on an lcs that can’t take the weight of it’s intended modules?

          • I’m saying that if I were designing an LCS from the ground up it would have had a 5″ gun.

          • Duane

            And that would have been a very bad decision.

            The Mk 110 57 mm gun system is vastly more capable for littoral warfare than the useless 5-in gun, which is essentially obsolete for any naval warfare today … too slow for fighting off swarming small craft, incapable of being used against aircraft, insufficient firepower and range for engaging surface ships,. and no precision guided munitions capable of hitting a moving target. It is a ‘tweener gun that is virtually useless for anything.

            Two years ago the Navy did a sink-ex with a retired naval auxiliary. Initially a torpedo sank the aft part of the ship but left the bow section afloat. So then a Burke was brought along and pumped many dozens (over 60) of 5-in shells over an extended timeframe from near point blank range, in just the floating bow section, and it still just floated merrily along. Finally the 688 sub came back with a single Mk 48 and put the bow on the bottom immediately.

            There is no conceivable surface warfare scenario where an opponent warship is going to let a Burke put 60 plus shells into it, with no visible effect, from short range (within the radar horizon) and not in the meantime take out the Burke with any decent ASCM, likely from far beyond the measly 13 nm range of the 5 inch gun.

          • It wouldn’t be for surface warfare – missiles do that better than guns. What a 5″ brings to the table is effective shore bombardment.

          • Duane

            A 5 in gun would be useless on a littoral warship. Far too slow a firing rate, far too limited a ready rounds magazine, there are no munitions that are precision guided and capable of hitting moving target on any 5 in naval gun in the world today. The only 5-in precision guided are capable only of hitting fixed targets on land.

          • NavySubNuke

            Agreed that the concept of LCS was great. And if it has delivered at even a fraction of it’s planned cost it would have been fine. The trouble is that instead of costing $80M – $150M as they were originally supposed to in the concept phase or the $220M they were supposed to cost once we entered production the ships are now costing north of $700M and thanks to the tremendous over run in costs for the mission modules a fully equipped LCS (based on average mission module cost) is over $900M.
            Additionally, the cowardly and short sighted decision by the Navy to procure both designs rather than picking a loser means they will continue to cost the Navy 2x as much to sustain as they should since we need 2 school houses, 2 spare parts streams, and 2 different mission module configurations for the 3 different mission modules.
            Never mind the “own goals” scored by PEO LCS when they did things like make the ASW module so heavy they had to spend 2 years redoing it. Or the over complicated engines that have a strong tendency to eat themselves if the crew doesn’t say the exact right incantation. Or the proprietary maintenance agreements with the contractors that means the crew can’t even maintain most of their own gear and the ship has to pull back into port on a fixed schedule for routine maintenance by contractor personnel.

          • Duane

            LCS was NEVER touted as an $80-150M ship in today’s dollars.

            Tiny corvettes half the size of LCS cost far more than that today.

          • NavySubNuke

            Wow what a huge difference it makes when you convert $80 – $150M in 2001 $$ to 2018: $115M – $215M.
            Even converted to 2018 dollars the ships are still more then 3x what they were supposed to cost in the worst case even without including the mission modules.

          • Ziv Bnd

            Another aspect of the LCS development process that is a bit of a problem now was the emphasis on sprint speed. If they had called for a sprint speed of 35 knots, or even 40 knots, it would have been much easier to design the ship with a more robust and reliable drive system and they might have ended up with more range/endurance as well.

          • Duane

            The range is based on using only the diesels .. the high speed stuff comes from adding the other engines to the power train. The high speeds are necessary for both chasing and evading high speed targets which are typical in coastal waters.

            Warfare in the littorals has always, going back to the days of sail, been dominated by smaller, shallower draft, and higher speed ships.

          • Ziv Bnd

            I don’t see it. I think the LCS would be better off with a smaller, lower output drive system that allowed for a bit more fuel while limiting the sprint speed to 35 to 40 knots. The range wouldn’t be much longer but it would be gained with the loss of a sprint capability that would rarely be used. The LCS should be of a corvette with missiles, a good sensor array and a decent gun, rather than a high speed intercepter boat. From Singapore to the Persian Gulf, that is the ship that is needed.

      • Bryan

        One thing most don’t consider for a ship during peacetime, first day of war situation is we are not on a wartime footing. That means we will not know we are being fired at or attacked until we see it on the horizon. That’s true of little missile boats/terrorist and a near peer’s long range missile.

        For small craft it’s good to be able to shoot them while defending against a missile attack. At that point hellfire is appropriate. And of course with SeaRam the lcs has some means to defeat the missiles. It’s a first and last line of defense but it works for a few missiles. Unfortunately it doesn’t take much to overwhelm the SeaRam.

        • Bubblehead

          Searam was designed (and CIWS with 20mm) for point defense as a last line of defense. In other words for missiles that have gotten through the other 2 layers (long range & medium range) defenses. It was never intended to be the only means of defense.

          It is completely and utterly laughable (and sad) that the USN thinks this is a way to acceptably defend a ship AND ITS CREW from ASCM’s. It is unacceptable to put the lives of 150 crew members in such grave circumstances.

      • NavySubNuke

        As long as seas are calm —- ever seen what happens to a hellfire when the laser it is tracking on hits the water? According to one of my classmates who is a helo pilot it can get pretty sporty….

        • Graeme Rymill

          The LCS will be using the Longbow version of the Hellfire: fire and forget millimeter wave radar seeker. No laser targeting required.

          • NavySubNuke

            I get nervous with words like “will” — especially where LCS is concerned. Remember when people were saying LCS “will” cost $80M – $150M. Or when the Navy said LCS “will” deploy multiple ships to both SE Asia and the Persion Gulf in 2018.

          • Graeme Rymill

            You are right of course. A production decision on the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (aka Longbow Hellfire) was expected in late FY2018. That time has come and gone without any public announcement that I have seen. As it is only 8 LCS will be available for deployment with Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Packages and therefore potentially with the Longbow Hellfire. One SUW package will be on a test ship and there will be one package spare.

        • Duane

          Longbows – no lasers on these, mm wave radars.

    • Bubblehead

      Range of a surface fired Hellfire is 3 miles top. A missile fired from the surface will lose 30-50% of its range compared to an air launched missile due to having to propel itself from a standstill. And being vertical launched, it will lose eve more.

      • Duane

        5 nm range for a surface launch Longbow.

  • DaSaint

    Finally! Two years is much too long. It should not have taken that long to re-engine a naval asset. Commercial aluminum ferries with similar engines are switched out in a matter of months, including ordering. There must have been more to it than that. Maybe pierside availability, drydock availability, etc.

    We need the assets out there, and it seems to me that the Navy has more confidence in the Independence class than the Freedom class. Now what to do with the numbering of the ‘missing’ LCS…

  • airider

    I saw this headline and just started laughing …. and crying. I’m sure Duane is already rolling up his sleeves….

    • thebard3

      SSSHHHH!!! It’s all quiet now, let’s keep it that way.

  • Cute.

    What does your favored alternative cost?

    • Andy Ferguson

      Adorable.

      Options are FAR less costly than Little Crappy Ships.

  • lol

    • Andy Ferguson

      Harry, meet Lloyd.

  • LCS is $680m, find me another ship of its size built in a first world country that costs noticeably less.

    Even if the program is structured poorly, that does not mean that the strategic niche does not exist or that the ships do not provide value for the navy.

    • Duane

      Not $680M.

      Freedoms are $350M average hull price for the 11-ship block buy .. Indys are about $100M more. Mission modules range from under $50M (ASW and SuW) to $100M (MCM – because of all the unmanned vehicles needed for remote mine clearing).

      • Technically it is $676m.

        I don’t know where you get your $350m figure from, but mine is from the FY19 budget and is the average of the “Total” costs for the 6 LCS ordered across FY17, FY18, and FY19.

        • NavySubNuke

          He uses only the bare ship costs that the Navy pays the ship builder — it ignores the hundreds of millions in extra investment needed to add things like engines and electronics….
          By his standards a Burke destroyer costs something like $800M per the MYP contract the Navy signed with the shipbuilders.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    $600m+

    With running costs almost as much as a Burke.

    So, it can sit beside a pier for a slightly lower price than a more useful DDG.

    • Duane

      Bullhonkey. Crew cost alone is less than one half that of a Burke. Everything else far cheaper too.

    • Ziv Bnd

      Corp, the LCS costs about $650Mn for the surface warfare version, vs. $1.8Bn for the later Burkes. Plus the LCS has a crew of 70, while the Burke has a crew of 270+.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        I said “running costs”

        I didn’t say “payroll costs”.

        The statistic (from the US government themselves) was that the cost of having an LCS is 90% of that of a Burke.

        • Ziv Bnd

          Yeah, I hear you, but I don’t believe whatever article you read is accurate. Crew is a huge component of running cost, and the LCS has a crew that is about 1/4 the size of the Burke. The LCS also uses a lot less fuel. There are a lot of bureaus of the US Government who wouldn’t recognize the truth, or common sense, if it bit them on the butt. The LCS may be a lot of mediocre things, but it is still half as expensive, or better, than a Burke. The problem is that it isn’t half as effective yet.

  • jon spencer

    It takes two years from keel laying to commissioning for a LCS.
    What took so long to replace the diesel?

    In comparison, look up how long it takes to replace a LM-2500 on a CG or a DDG.
    From “moored, switching colors” to “underway, switching colors”, two weeks would be a extended time frame.

  • NavySubNuke

    Dec 1941 USS Nevada was heavily damaged and grounded during an attack some of you might have heard of…
    Apr 1943 a repaired and modernized USS Nevada participated in combat operations against Japanese forces invading Alaska.
    16 months from severe damage and near sinking to returning to combat.
    ********************
    Jul/Aug 2016 USS Freedom’s engines are severely damaged due to poor design and crew errors
    Dec 2018 USS Freedom is repaired and underway
    28 months from engine damage to underway.

    • thebard3

      Yes, but there was considerably higher manpower and priority attached. NASA designed and built the Saturn V in just a few years and completed 6 moon missions, yet they now have been working on a new launch vehicle for a decade, with no functional hardware to show for it. We live in a different world today, unfortunately.

    • Lazarus

      Comparing apples and oranges. Wartime and peacetime spending are very different.

      • NavySubNuke

        Oh yes, certainly the only difference in repairing a 27,000+ ton well armed battleship with extensive battle damage vs. a 3400 ton ship with no armor, next to no weapons, and a broken engine is the difference between wartime and peacetime funding… that makes total sense.

        • Lazarus

          Wartime, analog era ship with unlimited maintenance budget verses low priority, highly automated test ship with limited budget. A very big difference.

          • NavySubNuke

            I understood your lame excuse the first time you stated it. Stating it again in more words doesn’t make it any less laughable to those of us who aren’t LCS cheerleaders/shills.

          • Lazarus

            If you understood then do not double down on implausible explanations. It’s not an excuse but just the facts.

          • NavySubNuke

            It is nothing more then a lame red herring on your part.
            There is no evidence that Freedom was in the yard for over two years for minor repairs due to crew errors due to funding issues.

  • Graeme Rymill

    USS Freedom went into dry dock in December 2016. The diesel engine was successfully removed and replaced by March 2017 and the ship was out of dry dock by May 2017.

    So for the last 19 months the USS Freedom has been sitting at a San Diego pier doiing something other than having a diesel replaced.

    • Duane

      Completing a maintenance availability that no doubt included a large number of work items, new equipment installs and updates, etc.

  • Brent Leatherman

    Two years to fix a ship? It didn’t take that long to build it.

  • thelaine

    These are useful ships. The point is that the whole program has been so horribly mismanaged that the cost is outrageous. A Toyota Camry is a great car, but I would be bitter if the Navy bought 50 of them for a quarter million dollars each and took delivery in 10 years. That is the issue with the LCS. People should have been fired, at the very least, and this program should have been strangled in the crib. A mature foreign design would have worked fine. There are plenty of examples out there. There was absolutely no legitimate reason to “re-invent the wheel” for this ship. But, here we are. When the money doesn’t come out of your pocket and there is no personal accountability, this is what can happen.

  • RTColorado

    Okay, let’s give this a fresh look. Now that they’ve repaired the problems/damage/design flaws….sell it. It should get a reasonable price.

  • siempre44

    The LCS are a new class of warship…the warship with no weapons. The Navy is trying to retrofit weapons packages but the ships have almost no carrying capacity or internal space for weapons. That these ships and the equally useless Zumwalt class do not even have working engines is along with the F35debacle a product of corruption in military purchasing where the Pentagon never thought any of the weapon systems would ever be used so the issue was how much money could be kicked back and how many procurement officers could retire to defense industry payback jobs. That has left the fighting section of the military with junk and no money to buy real weapons.

    • Bubblehead

      While as hole I agree with your statement, it isn’t quite far to compare the Zums & LCS. The Zums actually have the capability and the means to be very lethal. They are not because of budget cuts forced the USN to cut its radar, guns & stealth. The LCS from the get-go never had any lethality. It was doomed from the beginning, and yes anybody that was responsible should at a minimum be fired and tarred.

  • Kypros

    Hopefully, these 3 dozen ships will start giving the US taxpayer some value for their investment soon.

  • Buisness Orc

    The Navy has done a terrible job explaining why the LCS has had such a troubled development.

    Some simple information could have gone along way in this regard

    • Kypros

      Worse! It seems they feel no need to explain.

  • Duane

    Actually, Congress buys them, at the Navy’s request.

  • Andy Ferguson

    “Fairly accurate”?

    Yikes.

    All you have are lame, childish insults, instead of credible sources.

    Sad, but typical.

  • ElmCityAle

    Here’s my question: what is providing target illumination from the LCS as a substitute for the Longbow radar?

    • Longbow Hellfire has an active radar seeker that does not require illumination. As I understand it, the Longbow radar is used for target detection and then hands off the target location to the missile prior to launch. With LCS, the primary radar (Sea Giraffe / TRS-3D) will take the place of the Longbow radar.

      • ElmCityAle

        A ha, I didn’t realize the missile provided its own active seeker.

  • old guy

    Let us get rhis straight, for once.
    1. The LCS was originally based on a brilliant MODULAR ship concept, called SEAMOD.
    2. When the RFP was written, it was so convoluted, that it was impossible to meet.
    3. NAVSEA was advised by a group of concerned PRO BONO, sucessful, advanced concept developers to cancel the procurement and correct the specs.
    4. Pressure from Congress and the yardsled to issuing the RFP.
    5. All of the resulting problems, like splitting the program, abandoning madularity and rampant cost increases can be traced back to the original failings.
    6. The result epitomizes the expression, GI, GO.

  • old guy

    If you wish ti know the truth of how this disaster happened, you will have to look WAY dooooowwwwn in this poat. Another case of conceal the facts, (or don’t understand them.)

  • Andy Ferguson

    Clearly, reading comprehension is boggling you.

    NO WHERE on the L-M page is it called “Longbow”.

    Keep squirming….

  • Andy Ferguson

    Squirming away….

    What’s the OFFICIAL military designation for it?

  • Daniel Kunkle

    We’ve gone from fixing the USS Yorktown in three days to get her to the Battle of Midway to taking years to fix a frigate sized ship.

    ?????

  • Andy Ferguson

    As you pointed out a NICKNAME…

    A-3/A3D Skywarriors were known as “All 3 Dead”, too.
    Wasn’t an official name, was it?

    Super Hornets are known as “Rhinos”.
    Wasn’t an official name, was it?

    F-16’s are known as “Vipers”.
    Wasn’t an official name, was it?

    A-10’s are known as Warthogs.
    Wasn’t an official name, was it?

    It is hilarious watching you try to deny this piece of common knowledge though.

  • Jack D Ripper

    no womder we cant get a wall