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Navy Set to Restart LCS Deployments this Year, Despite Challenges in Manning, Training

USS Wichita (LCS-13) conducts acceptance trials on Lake Michigan on July 11, 2018. Lockheed Martin photo.

The Navy is optimistic it will deploy three Littoral Combat Ships by this fall, after not deploying any last year and grappling with significant gaps in manning and advanced training.

The service was supposed to push forward three ships in Fiscal Year 2018, after a 2016 overhaul of LCS homeporting, command and control and manning constructs. However, USNI News first reported in April 2018 that zero LCSs would deploy in FY 2018. Since then, the Navy had not talked publicly about progress made towards getting ready to deploy its first LCSs since ships from a block-buy contract started delivering to the fleet at about four a year.

Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Richard Brown told reporters on Friday that “we’re deploying LCS this year, it’s happening,” and that two from the West Coast and one from the East Coast would depart before FY 2019 ends in September.

“Two ships are going on the West Coast; one ship is going on the East Coast, followed shortly [by a second] in the beginning of ‘20. And that marks the deployment of LCS; there will always be LCS forward-deployed now, just like we designed the program,” Brown said in the media call.

He said USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) would deploy from San Diego to the Western Pacific, and that USS Detroit (LCS-7) would deploy from Florida, though he did not specify to which location, WESTPAC or Bahrain. USS Little Rock (LCS-9) would follow shortly after in early FY 2020 from Florida.

“We are very excited about that because the naval component commanders are screaming for LCSs because they know what they’re going to bring to the fight.”

The Navy has previously deployed three LCSs to Singapore – USS Freedom (LCS-1), USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) and USS Coronado (LCS-4) – but the first four LCSs have a different enough design from the block-buy ships that the Navy has deemed them research and development assets that will not deploy unless an emergency arises. Since those deployments, the Navy has overhauled how it organizes, mans and prepares the ships for deployment. Between the changes in the organizational structure and differences in the hulls themselves, questions remain regarding how these 2019 deployments will look under the new model.

Despite Brown’s confidence, the Navy has not made clear how it will overcome manning shortfalls and a lack of a plan for how to train and certify the ships for deployment. The Navy did not respond to multiple requests for information over four months from USNI News, and it is still unclear if those issues have been resolved yet.

Manning and Training Shortfalls

USS Tulsa (LCS-16) arrives at its new homeport, Naval Base San Diego, Calif., after completing its maiden voyage from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. on Nov. 21, 2018 US Navy Photo

According to LCS briefing slides from Naval Surface Force Pacific in late August and reviewed by USNI News, the LCS community has a “lack of distributable inventory” when it comes to sailors, and the Navy has shown “insufficient LCS prioritization to support current/future billets.” There are no excess crews to help fill any gaps, and the crews of precommissioning ships are being drained to support billets gaps in commissioned ships, according to the slides. Those enlisted sailors who report to an LCS crew are not always fully trained, with just 31 percent arriving with a primary Navy Enlisted Classification, which then affects the timeline for the individuals and the crews to qualify to operate the LCS.

The briefing slides note the importance of manning issues on LCS, which has a minimally manned crew that requires each sailor to hold many titles and collateral duties.

Citing the U.S. Fleet Forces Command LCS Platform Wholeness Concept of Operations, the slides note, “One challenge presented by small crews is that each crew member, regardless of rank or rate, is vital to the operation of the ship. … Unlike other ships, there is almost no redundancy within LCS crews and the unplanned loss of even a single crew member may result in major mission degradation.”

According to a Naval Military Personnel Manual, the slide cites, “The LCS design, manning, and policies will be a significant departure from current legacy ways of doing business. Current directives will be inadequate to ensure LCS stays manned with the right people at the right time. Current ‘fit’ metrics will be inadequate to meet LCS needs.”

The slide goes on to note that, due to the minimal manning structure, the fleet needed to aim for 100-percent fit and 100-percent fill on LCS crews, compared to goals of 92-percent fit and 95-percent fill elsewhere in the surface fleet.

The Navy has not responded to several USNI News queries regarding the ongoing manning challenges in the LCS fleet.

On the training side, it is unclear if the Navy has even decided what the predeployment training and certification process will look like, let alone begun taking actions to implement it in support of the first three ships set for 2019 deployments.

Independence-class LCS USS Omaha (LCS-12), USS Jackson (LCS-6) and USS Independence (LCS-2) on March 23, 2018. Photo by Christopher P. Cavas used with permission

According to the August 2018 slides, several options were on the table for advanced and integrated training: a single- or multi-LCS six-day advanced training event, followed by an integrated training event of up to eight days; an advanced Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) event conducted by the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) that would last about 16 days, followed by a three-day certification event; or a massive event that integrates LCS into existing SWATTs and Composite Training Unit Exercises (COMPTUEX) with other surface ships that could last as long as 36 days.

The slides note repeatedly that a decision had not yet been made, and the Navy has not responded to USNI News queries regarding whether a decision had been made and whether resources had yet been put towards beginning to carry out a decision.

According to the slides, an LCS Training Manual states that the notional 18-month LCS deployment model supports only 10 to 14 days of advanced and integrated training without affecting forward operational availability.

In the aftermath of the 2016 LCS Review, the Navy now fields two LCS Squadrons – LCSRON-1 in San Diego and LCSRON-2 in Mayport, Fla. Each LCSRON oversees divisions of four ships each – one division for surface warfare, one for anti-submarine warfare and one for mine countermeasures – and within each division one ship is designated the training ship and the other three are deployable ships. In Mayport, Detroit will be the first to deploy, but its training ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), had been tied up in a lengthy post-shakedown availability that was extended by more than six months and was therefore unable to commence its training activities to support the original 2018 deployment. Similarly, in San Diego USS Jackson (LCS-6) was in a lengthy PSA as well and would not have been able to support the beginning of training for Montgomery under the previous deployment schedule. However, due to the deployments being pushed back from FY 2018 to 2019, Naval Sea Systems Command told USNI News that both Jackson and Milwaukee are now out of PSA and able to serve as the division training ship.

LCS Role in the Fleet

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) in maintenance at BAE Systems in San Diego, Calif. on March 23, 2018. Photo by Christopher P. Cavas used with permission

Brown told reporters during the Friday call that the LCS was built to be a single-mission ship – in the case of these LCSs deploying in 2019, anti-surface warfare (ASuW). He said the ships would focus on ASuW-only activities like partner-building exercises, fisheries patrols and other work suitable for a small surface combatant.

“But it’s definitely up to the 7th Fleet commander, because [Vice Adm.] Phil Sawyer, he’s got [operational control], he’ll be the guy that uses these. They’ll be fully certified to conduct ASuW operations, and all their systems will work, and they’ll have full redundancy when they go,” Brown said.

The surface warfare director on the chief of naval operations’ staff said having the LCSs out in the fleet to handle these lower-threat mission sets would ease some pressure on the destroyers and cruisers and allow them to focus on missions better suited for large combatants.

“The feedback from (past LCS) deployments has been incredibly positive, from the ships, from the fleet, from the allies they work with, across the board. People generally like having U.S. Navy vessels to work with, and this gives us more options. Where we can alleviate the higher-end ships – that’s the whole purpose of the small surface combatant,” Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News in a Jan. 10 interview.

Boxall and his staff are working hard to get additional weaponry to the LCSs before they deploy in the coming months, for added self-protection and offensive capability if needed.

“We now have two really good capabilities that have just come out – number one being the [surface-to-surface missile module], which is an add-on to the ASuW mission package that will allow us to be much more protective in a small-boat environment,” he said.
“I think it has a very good capability, and we expect to deploy that in ‘19. … We’ve been very aggressive about getting that out there as soon as we can, so that’s a goal.”

“I’ve also challenged our enterprise to deploy Naval Strike Missile as soon as possible out on a ship. If it were up to me, I’d try to get it on ‘19 ships as well, but again, if we keep putting things into that backpack in ‘19, then the question becomes, what’s more important: to say we did it in ‘19, or to wait a month or two and get Naval Strike Missile capability on a ship? I don’t know if that’s even an issue, I’m just telling you those are considerations, and I think they’re good ones,” Boxall said.
“We fully intend to deploy ships in ’19 – again, that’s the fleet’s call – but if there’s any delays it’ll only be because we’re upgunning capabilities that we didn’t expect to have on there, and I think that’s a good idea to do that.”

  • Duane

    Per USNI News March 2018:

    “Recent challenges to Navy recruiting and retention have left the sea service 11,000 sailors short of its required manpower level in the short term, and about 50,000 sailors short of the estimated force needed to crew a 355-ship fleet.”

    The LCS are the newest ships entering the fleet in large numbers, so they are at the tip of the spear as far as handling the Navy’s ongoing problem in having sufficient manpower for today’s fleet, let alone tomorrow’s fleet. With new warship designs (not just LCS) featuring small crews that demand greater/broader skills, the overall demand for manpower numbers is reduced, but the overall demand for more capable manpower increases.

    btw – this is nothing new for the submarine forces, which have always demanded fewer but more capable sailors than did the surface fleet. And now it’s becoming the norm for the surface fleet too, especially over the next 20 years.

    • tom dolan

      One of the major problems with this type of platform is that in many cases unlike conventional platforms the operator isn’t able to do major maintenance in the field which reduces the platform availability when deployed. I’m thinking that the smart play is predeploy a tender vessel with an extensive parts inventory and well trained staff to facilitate high end maintenance while deployed. This would be a modern version of the sub and seaplane tenders needed for similar reasons in the past.

      • Ed L

        Something like an Merchant vessel, Ferry, RoRo, cruise ship say 300 to 400 feet in length. lots of used ones out there for less than 4 million dollars. A couple of offset cranes or a centerline crane. and/or booms. lower deck side port openings. Put a storage for ammo and missiles etc. Diesel power of course. Capable of cruising at 16 knots and the ability to conduct a tow.

        • DaSaint

          I’d like to see an expanded EPF-variant. Maybe configured like Austal’s HSSV for Oman, but on a larger, better equipped platform.

          • Ed L

            Heck I’m only 65 I go back to sea. The helm is a seated position isn’t it?

      • Duane

        Learning how to maintain and sustain these and any other new ship types is always a challenge and results in a learning curve. As you say, submarines have long used forward-based tenders … long ago destroyers did the same

        However, the plan now is to forward deploy the LCS where there can be set up a forward maintenance support facility, in a few locations, like Singapore and Bahrain … perhaps the Baltic or North Sea some day too.

        Also, with the Blue-Gold crew structure, crew shifts that take place roughly every half year can be set up to provide some overlap between the two crews, so as to perform a sort of mini-maintenance availability where both crews can work on the ship.

        • tom dolan

          I think shore facilities are great but I’m thinking that having a tender that can move to the site of an engineering casualty near areas of conflict might increase the flexibility of these vessels and increase their utility by decreasing the amount of time they spend tied to a pier. A tender crew is going to get the work done a lot quicker then any shore establishment is my experience

  • Ed L

    Sounds like they need a bunch of Boatswain Mates and Machinist Mates with Associated Degrees in Science. Heck I am only 65 got an Associated degree in computers and was a BM1 in my previous career. I go, where do I sign up Chief. I been navigating a sailboat for years. Just don’t ask me to do that PT run. Now a 500 meter swim I can still do that in fact I can do a 1,000 meters swimming. The Helm on an LCS is manned in the sitting position right?

    • tom dolan

      Ed…I’m 65 also and I don’t know about you but staying awake for that dogwatch would be a deal breaker for this old salt…lol

  • DaSaint

    Excellent article Megan, replete with details and references to USN slides – which will keep critics and supporters alike focused on accurate comments, as opposed to ‘feelings’. Kudos, as I’m sure you structured the article for that very purpose, in addition to being very informative!

    I sincerely hope that they can successfully deploy – with sufficient offensive and defensive weaponry – including both a manned and an unmanned aviation component. IF all that happens, we’ll have additional assets for partner-building while relegating higher-valued assets to higher-valued priorities,

    Fingers crossed!

    • Duane

      LCS have already successfully deployed three times before – the latest concluding a little over a year ago, 14 months operating forward in the South China Sea without a major US operating base to support them .. out of Singapore.

      • DaSaint

        Navy Set to Restart LCS Deployments this Year.

        That’s the title. And those are the facts. No one contested the past deployments. Those existed as fact. However, the Navy had planned to deploy in 2018, which they were unable to do. That too is a fact. The article pertains to planned deployments in 2019, should all go well.

        Fingers crossed!

        • Duane

          You wrote: “I sincerely hope that they can successfully deploy …”

          Well, LCS already proved they can successfully deploy, and with sufficient weapons and sensors and aircraft and so forth. The Coronado deployed in 2016-2017 with Harpoon OTH missiles, as well as with its aircraft and various other weapons, radars, etc. suitable for SuW and presence operations in the South China Sea.

          As for 2018, that’s history. The plans made in 2016 for deployments in 2018 did not (and could not) take into account the restructuring of the program that was made in 2017. Ships were pressed into various necessary support duties in the mean time, such as equipment testing and integration, and training up of new construction crews. And given all the new ships coming into commission, the new hulls and crews were also busy with shakedown cruises and post-shakedown availabilties – the same stuff every other new naval warship does for the first couple of years following commissioning.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Dude. Read the article. Numerous Navy organizations point out the unique challenges in manning and training LCS crews in 2019.

            Like 100% fit and fill – which is an impossibly high manning standard And little time (or even plan) for pre-deployment work-ups.

            LCS is not the same as other warships. The challenges it faces in getting ready to deploy in 2019 are significant and should concern even the most die-hard LCS supporter.

          • Lazarus

            All Navy small ships have seen similar challenges. They are not large combatants with lots of excess people.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I don’t believe any small ships have tried to implement such an aggressive deployment scheme.

            It certainly doesn’t read like the Navy is prepared to properly man them (fit and fill). I’d agree there is not much margin with such a small crew.

          • Lazarus

            The Navy apparently was not manning the DDG force in 7th fleet very well in 2017. There are manning challenges everywhere but at least the LCS program is honest about shortfalls.

          • Lazarus

            PC’s and MCM’s have seen similar deployment patterns. The loss of any one sailor can have multiple effects in terms of individual and team certs. That is true on most surface fleet ships. Lots of billets and requirements that sometimes are hard to meet.

          • Duane

            Yes … but of course, this post here and nearly all of this thread ignores the simple fact that every LCS has two fully qualified crews, with one crew always in hot standby. So if the Blue crew finds itself short of a warm body or two, all it takes is a phone call back to home port and the necessary warm bodies from the Gold crew, fully qualified as watchstanders, hop a flight out to where the LCS is based … problem immediately solved.

            No other US Navy ship in the fleet can do that. Not even an SSBN which uses the Blue-Gold structure, which SSBN necessarily stays out on patrol for the duration and cannot enter port to pick up new crew.

          • PolicyWonk

            However, you are ignoring the fact that its now over 10 years since the first commissioning over two separate LCS classes, both of which were supposed to have the capability to operate with significantly smaller crews, and a host of other “benefits” that utterly failed to materialize. The base LCS crew is now about double the original size (not counting those that come with the mission package), which significantly increases the expenses to man/operate them, making an already lousy investment even worse.

            The “challenges” as you call them are normal for new ship classes. What isn’t normal are the never-ending “challenges”: design problems; manning, training, maintenance nightmares; and failures of both LCS classes to meet a decent fraction of the promises made, despite having now more than a decade to demonstrate some improvement. If as you’ve claimed the multitudes of design flaws of both classes earlier offerings were corrected, there are few (if any!) deployments of later ships in either class demonstrating this to be the case.

            And to think we get all the “benefits” of the above, with two classes of ships that are monstrously expensive to acquire and maintain, lack anywhere near sufficient room for growth, are laughably armed (even with the SUW package) when compared to other navies offerings, and were designed and built to commercial standards, rendering both as little more than armed yacht/ferry conversions that have absolutely no business whatsoever sailing into harms way.

            It took less that 10 years to build, man, train, and certify the crews of LHA-6 (USS America) or LPD-17 (San Antonio), and start delivering value/ROI to the taxpayers.

            There is no way to put a happy face on this monumental acquisition failure.

          • Duane

            It took 15 years to develop, commission, and deploy the first DDG-51. It only took LCS 9 years to do the same.

          • Duane

            Same article here fails to mention the overriding detail that you ignore also – the LCS is the only surface ship in the fleet with two entirely separate, fully qualified crews, with one always on standby. So if a warm body disappears, a fully qualified (on that ship) replacement is but a plane ride away, even when on deployment.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            That’s the goal. It doesn’t read like they are anywhere near figuring out how to attain it.

          • DaSaint

            Context buddy. Next time quote the ENTIRE sentence. Here it is for you: I sincerely hope that they can successfully deploy – with sufficient offensive and defensive weaponry – including both a manned and an unmanned aviation component.

            IMHO, they didn’t deploy ‘with sufficient offensive and defensive weaponry’. Now they may, which I think we can all agree is better than only having the 57mm and the SeaRAM.

            Context…and fairness. Quote the whole sentence. It makes a difference. No need to skew my interpretation by cutting my sentence off and therefore taking it out of context.

          • Duane

            Context fully accounted for.

            LCS have deployed with both manned and unmanned offensive and defensive components and aviation since the first deployment in 2013.

            The most recent deployment to the South China Sea (forward based in Singapore) in 2016-2017 by the USS Coronado, its crew performed the first ever in history targeting of a surface contact using an unmanned aircraft) MQ-8B, equipped with AESA synthetic appurture radar and FLIR sensors) feeding target data to the ship’s Harpoon launcher, which successfully engaged the surface contact.

            All reported here at USNI in real time when it happened.

            Of course, the LCS trolls are too busy trolling and whining and complaining to notice actual reported facts.

      • Bubblehead

        Duane, there are like 20 of the Little Crappy Ships out there, you realize that right? To claim they are successful because 1 out of 20 of them completed one deployment over a year ago is a little bit of stretch.

        Sooner or later you have to stop being a parrot of phrases you read from the USN and think for yourself.

        • Duane

          As of the end of FY-2018 (Sept 30), year, there were a total of 12 LCS in commission, not 20. Two more LCS have commissioned so far in FY2019. 8 of the 14 ships are still in the normal 2 year pre-deployment shakedown, testing, training, and post-shakedown maintenance phase that ALL US warships go through prior to first deployment. So only 6 of the 14 commissioned were deployable in FY 2018 as a matter of normal warship development.

          Two of those 6 ships last year (1/3) were undergoing the regular maintenance availabilities that occupy 1/3 of the entire US Navy fleet at any given point in time. One of those was the Freedom, the first LCS commissioned and a 10 year old ship, undergoing a shipyard overhaul that is typically needed on any warship of that age.

          Of the 4 deployable ships, they were all heavily engaged in weekly operations for support of new construction crew training, as assigned by the Navy, and in conducting sea based equipment testing and integration operations.

          In other words, LCS are just like every other US Navy warship in terms of its availability. for deployment

          • Matthew Schilling

            But this article states otherwise, saying the demands on the crew make these ships even more vulnerable to shortfalls in manning and training.

          • Duane

            This article is not even comprehensive.

            For instance, this article completely ignores the fact that every LCS has two fully qualified and trained crews, with one complete crew always on standby undergoing training and qualification. If a Blue crew loses a warm body or two, all it takes is a message to home base and the necessary, fully trained and fully qualified Gold crew members are on their way. No other ship in the Navy can do that … even SSBNs can’t do that while on patrol.

        • tom dolan

          Look I understand your frustration with this program but scrapping them all and starting over isn’t an option so let’s see if we can come up with some ideas to get these ships deployed in usable numbers to meet the defense requirements of our nation. They are what they are and young sailors will be serving on them for decades.

          • Bubblehead

            MCW & drug interdiction

          • tom dolan

            In terms of utility I’d think the obvious operational areas where these vessels would be used would be in the Persian Gulf and off Somalia so to reduce wear and tear on those power plants I’d forward deploy them to Diego Garcia. The rest of them would go to Guam with an eye toward the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait. Blue and Gold would fly in for change over.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    “The Navy is optimistic it will deploy three Littoral Combat Ships by this fall.”

    Hmmmm. “Optimistic”, not ‘certain’. And “this fall” still starts around the last week of September, does it not? So for MOST of this year none of these ships will deploy, and the best that can be presented is a HOPE that by the end of the year SOME utility can finally be gleaned from them. I say again it is obvious that this program is deemed “too big to fail”. Yet here it is continuing to fail. I hope and pray they turn it around at some point. I hope that there will be some bonafide success stories coming forth.

    • Duane

      No failures at all. What are you talking about?

      The so-called “engineering casualties” on a couple of early hulls (by the way the Navy also suffers “engineering casualties” on its other warships too – but they don’t have loud mouthed trolling communities constantly caterwauling over them) were entirely due to poor crew training which has since been corrected two years ago, with no more “engineering casualties” since.

      The LCS ships work great. No failures among them.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Gee Duane, I can site your OWN words on here. YOU are the one making excuses that the crews don’t have enough ‘skills’ because of manpower shortfalls. Perhaps the uber-complexity of these ships contribute to that. NONE of these ships that you continue to shill for made a deployment last year! NONE of them did. Heck, one was trapped in a foreign country because it couldn’t escape ice. The US taxpayer is seeing virtually NOTHING for their investment in these ships. One out of 4 won’t deploy at all, and we keep getting these ‘hopes’ that ‘this module will finally work’, or ‘these ships will finally deploy’, it gets old after awhile. And as I have repeatedly stated, I am pulling for them. As I am pulling for the taxpayers. But every time I turn around it seems, I see or read something else where that hope is dimmed.

        OK?

        • Duane

          The mere fact that none of the LCS were assigned to overseas deployments during a particular fiscal year means nothing. They deployed successfully multple times in prior years, including 2016-2017. So they have nothing to prove in that regard. Three will deploy this year, and one more shortly after Sep 30. So what is your point? If your point is that LCS can’t deploy, then you are obviously wrong. So c’mon, what is your point, exactly?

          You have no point.

          • Matthew Schilling

            It doesn’t mean nothing, nor was a full year of no deployments planned: I highly doubt there was a PowerPoint slide 10 years ago, stating “while no LCS will happen to deploy in 2018…everything will still be awesome!”

          • Duane

            There was a plan, pre-restructuring of the program in 2017, that had a deployment in 2018. The program was restructured (changed crewing model from 3-2-1 to Blue-Gold; upgraded crew training, and concentrating Indys on West Coast and Freedoms on East Coast. During the transition in that program ships were reassigned to crew training as well as operations supporting new equipment testing and integration.

            The plan changed. Affecting just one calendar year. BFD.

          • Matthew Schilling

            Hasn’t the program been restructured because it has been downgraded from what the marketing department told us originally we’d be getting? After all, Sears is going through a “restructuring” right now, too.

          • Duane

            Not downgraded at the least. You are spewing propaganda.

          • Matthew Schilling

            So, everything’s going just the way marketing presented it 10 years ago? No decrease in what was promised, either in capabilities or tempo?

          • Duane

            What marketing? The Navy doesn’t do marketing. The Navy is not a consumer products manufacturer.

          • Matthew Schilling

            I know, right? I mean, whoever heard of the military trying to sell anything to Congress? And, every base, along with every manufacturing facility, was always and only selected and positioned with efficiency, productivity, and savings in mind – never with an eye toward influencing or persuading (AKA marketing) Congress.
            Was being obtuse a requirement for your employer, of just a nice-to-have?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            What? Say WHAT? So deployment depends on the fiscal year? You should quit before that hole gets deeper Duane. I’m just trying to help you out here…

          • Duane

            So I have a car. On Thursday, I decide not to drive it to work because I have other plans for it that day.(I decide to detail it, or to install new tires on it) Then on Friday, I drive it to work. By your illogic, the Thursday it wasn’t driven the car was an utter failure, for failing to deploy on the ride to work on one day.

            Your argument is just as stupid as that.

            All of the LCS not in maintenance were sailed weekly all of last year, and currently today.

            Later this year four LCS will deploy. Yet nothing changed. Same ships, same design, same capabilities, same crews. Yet, unbelievably enough, they “can’t deploy” today, but can deploy later. I mean, it’s so damned hard to figure out what the heck it all means.

            SMH squared

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Let’s take your comical scenario to it’s LOGICAL conclusion, shall we?

            I have a car. I CAN’T drive it, not on a Thursday, not on a Friday, nor for the NEXT fifty-some Thursdays or Fridays. EXCEPT, MAYBE, to get me to my LOCAL grocers located around the block. Or to the gas station next to that. But I sure as heck can’t drive it out of state! And all the engineering and other casualties involving it means it might not pass inspection..

            THAT best explains the LCS to date.

            Your turn…

          • Duane

            Your analogy is fake .. nothing need be said in response.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            “Nothing need be said” because you can’t refute it! It was, after all, YOUR analogy. And it has been exposed for its inanity.

          • Duane

            The only thing exposed is your illogic.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Yawn…

            Next?

        • Bubblehead

          Keep in mind the original boats (not ships) are almost halfway through their expected life cycle of estimated 20 years. I am sure the USN will extend the life on them though since the hulls will be in such good shape from just sitting on the piers.

          • Duane

            25 years not 20. Navy plans to get at least 30 to 35 years out of LCS. Most of the LCS in commission today are less than 4 years old since commissioning.

          • Lazarus

            Actually LCS is rated for 25 years and “aging” of ships (like cars) is dependent on mileage and not just time.

          • PolicyWonk

            Given that the first 4 LCS are considered all but useless for operational purposes, that isn’t much of an advantage.

          • Duane

            Not boats – ships. 3,400 tons.

        • PolicyWonk

          All you say is true. The added bonus is that with two classes of LCS, we get double the training facilities, double the logistical pipeline, and no economies of scale.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            True that. And don’t forget the obvious. The navy stated that the TWO ‘classes’ represented a competition from which ONE design would be selected. The fact that that aspect went out the window is more proof that this is looked as a political pork source more than anything else. Building two separate classes with little in the way of commonality ensures JOBS, period.

          • Duane

            One class, two variants. Just like we have two variants of LHDs today – with well deck, and without well deck.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            There was never, ever, an announcement from the Navy that two separate LHDs would be built so that ONE would be selected for actual production. Please endeaver to know the facts of these matters!

          • Duane

            Two variants exist. The Marines always wanted two. They have two.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The America is based on the USS Makin Island. The America is after the fact. The LHDs were never built to multiple designs that was SUPPOSED to result in ONE being selected. The LCS, in BOTH designs, thus are more valuable as pork barrel jobs sources than they are as effective COMBAT ships. At least, so far, that is the case…

        • Duane

          No US Navy ship can transit the St. Lawrence Seaway when it is closed annually in the winter, unless the Navy pays for an icebreaker to make way.

          And this is your poor-assed excuse of a criticism of LCS? You’re hallucinating.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Let’s see. you whine about a couple of Burkes being involved in deadly collisions, but somehow an LCS being stupidly caught in ice is excusable? Keep digging Duane. LOL..

          • Duane

            LCS wasn’t “caught in ice”.

            You’re being ridiculous, as always.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Below is the headline from the January 23, 2018 edition of USA Today…

            “USS Little Rock, Navy’s newest ship, is stuck in ice in Montreal, the latest woe for her troubled class of ships”

            “WASHINGTON — Christened in the northern Wisconsin town of Marinette and commissioned in snowy Buffalo in December, the USS Little Rock’s bloodlines run more Yankee than Dixie.

            Which should serve the ship and her crew well while they’re locked in the ice
            near Montreal. Much like her troubled class of Littoral Combat Ship,
            the Little Rock remains in troubled water”

            I accept your apology!

          • Duane

            Ice prevented navigation on the SLS – unless the Navy paid for an icebreaker just as the Navy would have to pay an icebreaker to allow any other of its 281 ships to navigate the SLS during the annual winter freezeup/shutdown.

            Seriously, you think you have an actual argument? You’re ridiculous

          • Chesapeakeguy

            But they DIDN’T. And thus the ship was STUCK FAST at the pier there. Now, I’ll give you this, if the Navy had assigned any priority to getting her out, then maybe she could have been rescued. But obviously the Navy determined that they didn’t need to do that. After all, they had already decided that NO LCS vessels would be deployed last year, so why hurry?

          • sid

            Fiction Duane.
            The USN elected to keep the Little Rock in Montreal while 5 other ships transited the Seaway.
            To be fair, she was delayed by the ice damaged cable until January 4. The Federal Biscay got stuck in Snell Lock and not cleared until the 6th.
            At that time the remaining stragglers departed to the Atlantic.
            While the Canadians offered to send the ice breakers back for the LR the USN declined the offer and issued a statement on Jan 8 announcing she was staying in Montreal. The Seaway was closed on the 11th.
            The Navy chose to leave her there. Arguably a prudent move as she had been damaged by ice in the convoy after the Welland Canal.

          • sid

            The Canadians provide breaker support for that section of the Seaway. Plenty of pics of the LR and several salties in convoy astern of the Griffon …where she got the external plumbing on her waterjet damaged by some of the broken ice after departing the Welland Canal.

            While the merchants all continued to the Atlantic…albeit with some difficulty…the USN elected to keep the Little Rock in Montreal even after the cable was fully repaired on Jan 4 and turned down the offer of Canadian breaker support.

      • Andy Ferguson

        How was Montreal?

        • Lazarus

          That was weather.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Could it sail?

        • Duane

          Not a single US navy warship is ice hardened or capable of icebreaking. Gee, so LCS are just like every other warship in the US Navy. What a downer!

          • sid

            NOT a good plan to send them to the Baltic then.

          • Duane

            The open Baltic is always ice free. A few ports get minor icing, easily handled on a routine basis by the icebreakers operating there.

          • sid

            That is completely false Duane. Lets revisit how much ice is going to be in the Kattegat in couple weeks. it will be fun! The northern Baltic is iced up enough to keep an LCS immobile today.

            As links don’t work here google “NH 101560” for a vivid shot of how much ice can affect Kiel.

            In short, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Here is an excerpt of current ice conditions in the north:

            In the northern Bay of Bothnia 20-35 cm thick fast ice in the inner archipelago. Farther out 10-30 cm thick very close ice, ridged in places, approximately to Kemi 3, Oulu 3 and off Raahe. Farther out approximately to the line Malören – Nahkiainen new ice and 20-30 cm thick very close drift ice.

            In the southern Bay of Bothnia 5-20 cm thick ice, new ice and ice formation in the archipelago. At the ice edge shuga in places.

            In the Quark, in the Vaasa archipelago, 5-20 cm thick fast ice to Storhästen. Farther out to Ensten 5-20 cm thick very close drift ice.

            In the Sea of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland thin ice and new ice in the archipelago.

            Icebreakers: Otso and Kontio assist in the Bay of Bothnia.

            Assistance restrictions: Minimum ice class and deadweight required of assisted vessels:
            Tornio, Kemi and Oulu, IB of more than 2000 tons.
            Raahe, IB of more than 2000 tons or II of more than 3000 tons.
            Kalajoki, Kokkola, Pietarsaari and Vaasa, II of more than 2000 tons.
            Kotka and Hamina, II of more than 2000 tons.

          • Duane

            Why on earth would an LCS have to visit Kattegut? Filming an episode of “Future Vikings”?

            The open Baltic is ice free. The ports where an LCS might operate out of would be serviced by icebreakers as necessary. They won’t be visiting small fishing villages.

          • sid

            Just exactly what were the ice conditions which stuck the Little Rock in Montreal Duane? I know. Do you?

            “Kattegat”

            If you are asking that question , then I recommend your turn off Vikings and go find an actual nautical chart.

            How -where exactly- do you think a ship gets into and out of the Baltic?

            Guess you aren’t familiar with the Skagerrak either

          • Duane

            The St. Lawrence Seaway is an inland waterway, most of its 2,340 mile length far inland from the Atlantic Ocean … it freezes up entirely and officially shuts down for navigation completely every December through March, with the only shipping activity taking place during the shutdown is when an icebreaker clears the way.

            Since no other US Navy warship, or auxiliary, is an icebreaker and thus cannot navigate the St. Lawrence during the shutdown period unless the Navy pays a commercial icebreaker to make a hole … what EXACTLY is your point, anyhow?

          • sid

            “what EXACTLY is your point, anyhow?”

            1) That you have EXACTLY no clue of the geography of the Baltic…or how that geography has played out in the history of MIW in particular.

            Until you understand the significance of “The Kattegat” in that history, then this conversation cant go anywhere intelligent.

            Seriously. You need to look it up.

            2) You dont realize that the LCS is not threatened by ice thick enough to damage her hull. Either variant will be immobilized long before that is a consideration (for a host of things likely…but it wont be hull threatening ice).

            The issue is ice debris ingestion into her waterjet pumps which is the showstopper…And thats why the Little Rock got stuck in Montreal.

            3) Its the operation of the locks which limits the Seaway. That played into the Little Rock saga when a ship got stuck in ice in a lock, and the Canadians cleared it and were keeping the seaway open for the remaining ships …non ice hardened “Salties”…including the Little Rock. The NON ICE HARDENED HULLED merchants successfully transited, while the USN elected to not risk pump damage and left her in Montreal.

            4) Get familiar with ice reports.

          • Duane

            The Seaway closes EVERY WINTER FROM DECEMBER TO MARCH. Go to the official Seaway website and it states that clearly on the home page.

            Operations during the winter closure require icebreakers.. because it is far north, and shocking as it is, it gets very cold up north and the Great Lakes and the Seaway and the river ice over every winter, believe it or not.

          • sid

            I live on the Great Lakes Duane…this is local for me.

            Not that you’ll bother to read and comprehend, but the Canadians kept the seaway open into January 2018 due to the stragglers…which included the Little Rock.

          • Duane

            The point is, any other US Navy ship would have had exactly the same issue if it were in the Seaway that time of year. The LCS is no less ice-hardened than any other US Navy warship, which is to say, not at all.

            The Little Rock went there from the builder’s yard at that time for its commissioning. The ships are built at the Marinette Wisconsin yard of LM. Most US warships are built at Atlantic yards these days, with just a couple of exceptions (the two LCS variants).

          • sid

            Negative. As I wrote…but you ignored…NON ICE HARDENED SHIPS TRANSITED THE SEAWAY ****AFTER!!!!!**** THE LITTLE ROCK STAYED AT MONTREAL.

            The USN stopped her due to the threat of pump damage to her waterjets. That was a problem the other ships didn’t have so they transited.

            This ties back to the Baltic because that ice debris threat to the waterjets will be a significant limitation…No matter your flawed assumptions.

            Look up how badly the Germans suffered due to sea ice on the Baltic in 1939-40

          • Duane

            Sure, non ice hardened ships transit in the winter WHEN THEIR OWNERS PAY COMMERCIAL ICEBREAKERS TO MAKE A PATH. The Navy elected not to pay an icebreaker.

            You’re flailing. Give it up dude, you’re embarrassing yourself.

          • sid

            You really shouldn’t make things up out of thin air Duane…

            The following is a summary of the proposed icebreaker deployment by area.

            Great Lakes: Coast Guard plans to continue to deploy two icebreakers throughout the winter. Support from Quebec sector for the Seaway in late March will be provided if required and if available.

            St. Lawrence River, Saguenay and Gulf: Seven icebreakers including air cushion vehicles are planned for providing servicing in the St. Lawrence River including icebreaker capacity to the Saguenay River and one extra icebreaker in April and May for the Gulf estuary if required.

            East Coast and Gulf: Five icebreakers are planned to be deployed to cover the east coast.

          • sid

            NEWS RELEASE
            CANADIAN COAST GUARD
            **************************
            Today, the Canadian Coast Guard provided details of the upcoming icebreaking season. On the Great Lakes, icebreaking services are provided by the Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard working together as one team.
            The St. Lawrence Seaway, Welland Canal and Sault Ste. Marie Locks are closed during the winter months, however, shipping is still active on the Great Lakes and connecting waterways – Lake Erie, Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, Lake Huron, St. Marys River and Georgian Bay. The Canadian Coast Guard has two icebreakers assigned to the Great Lakes for the entire winter season: CCGS Griffon and CCGS Samuel Risley supported by additional Coast Guard vessels at the beginning and end of the icebreaking season.

            Icebreaking is an important government service, supported by industry fees, that helps the Canadian and United States economies. In this region the Canadian and United States Coast Guards work as one team, providing assistance to commercial cargo vessels to move through ice covered waters, re-supplying industry with much needed goods. By assisting ships both Coast Guards have an important role in providing communities the security, supplies, energy and emergency resources needed throughout the winter.

          • Lazarus

            Not correct! A loose wire that was fixed by a diver in 30 mins did not require Little Rock to stop for any more than that. You are perpetuating false news.

          • sid

            Well documented and widely witnessed. See elsewhere in this thread.

          • sid

            “The ports where an LCS might out of would be serviced by icebreakers as necessary”

            Oh. You mean like the support the Canadians had along the St. Lawrence seaway for the Little Rock and other shipping. All the rest of the ships transited out…except the Little Rock…BTW.

            It wasnt “open sea ice” that kept her there.

          • Lazarus

            Little Rock complied with the rules of the St Lawrence Seaway. She was kept there by those rules and nothing else. Any other speculation is just the usual, uninformed false information that accompanies any reporting on LCS.

          • sid

            That statement is complete fiction Laz. I will give you the benefit of a doubt and presume that someone else told you this completely false story. Every shipspotter on the Lakes knows what happened.

            The Little Rock had to stop and fix a cable to her steering system…The damage apparently due to ice debris while in convoy… and she moored in Port Colborne for repair. The cable was repaired. She got under way Dec. 22. arrived in Montreal Dec. 24.

            The cable was fully repaired by Jan 4.

            The Canadians delayed the closing of the seaway for her and several other stragglers when the Federal Biscay became wedged in Snell Lock on New Year’s Day by ice debris and stopped all transits. She was freed on Jan 6.

            With the Snell Lock cleared , the “salties” Mitq Pacific Huron (which had her own troubles aground)Beatrix and Billesborg all continued to the Atlantic on Jan 8 and 9.

            The Canadians offered to escort the Little Rock through with ice breaker support, but apparently the USN deferred. On Jan. 8 LCdr. Courtney Hillson made a public statement that the Little Rock would “continue working with [Montreal] Port Authority tugs, experts, and technological representatives to ensure the best path forward”

            The Canadians closed the Seaway on January 11.

            So Laz. Your statement is FALSE. Ships navigated the Seaway…AFTER…the USN elected to stop the Little Rock in Montreal.

            Can’t blame them I guess. A minor bit of drift ice debris had already damaged an exposed cable on one of her waterjets.

          • Lazarus

            Which navies run icebreaking warships on the Baltic? The Danes, Germans, Swedes and Poles don’t. Even the Russians do not. Our allies who would need to provide support for any USN ships deployed to the Baltic would also provide icebreaking services.

          • sid

            “Which navies run icebreaking warships on the Baltic? Even the Russians do not.”

            Wrong again Laz….

            The first Project 23550 ‘Ivan Papanin” ice-class patrol ship being built for Russia`s Navy (VMF) has been laid down at the Admiralty Shipyards (a subsidiary of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) in St. Petersburg, TASS reports.

            The Ivan Papanin-class polar icebreakers will be built with a strengthened and reinforced hull to enable it to move through sea ice. Each vessel will have a length of approximately 110m and a width of 20m.

            With a displacement of 8,500t, the vessels will be able to accommodate up to 60 crew members with an option to carry additional 50 members.

            A flight deck and a hangar will be fitted on the main deck towards the stern to support the operations of a single Ka-27PS anti-submarine helicopter or a Ka-27PL search-and-rescue helicopter or an unmanned aerial vehicle.

            The Russian Navy’s Project 23550-class polar icebreaker ships will be armed with one AK-176MA automatic naval gun system developed by JSC CRI Burevestnik.

            The armament also includes four Kalibr-NK anti-ship anti-submarine and land-attack subsonic cruise missiles, which will be launched from two quadruple canister missile launch systems located at the stern of the ship.

          • Duane

            So you admit this ship does not yet exist, it’s only been laid down .. and most likely is due for service in the Arctic – of which Russia has about ten times as many miles of coastline than does the US. Almost certainly not for service in the Baltic which is ice free throughout its expanse and just as some minor freezeups in harbors.

          • sid

            The lead ship is building . On the Baltic….

            Which gets significant ice throughout, no matter how many times you falsely say otherwise.

            And the Finns are responding with a class of their own ice hardened corvettes. See the details of their Squadron 2020.

          • sid

            Seems the Finns are so certain you’re wrong about the Baltic being ice free that they are spending a whole bunch of their meager Defense coin on a class of ***ICE HARDENED*** Corvettes Duane…

            Four multi-role corvettes will replace seven vessels
            Minelayer Pohjanmaa, the former flagship, has already been decommissioned, and the four Rauma-class fast attack missile crafts and two Hämeenlinna-class minelayers will reach the end of their service lives in around mid-2020s. They must be replaced by new vessels. Research results and comparisons have shown that a multi-role corvette will be the best replacement option.

            Corvettes have many important features:

            they can repel ships and other vessels
            they are capable of maritime mine-laying
            they can engage in anti-submarine warfare
            they can repel aerial vehicles
            they are capable of fire support against land-based targets.
            corvettes are capable of being in command of naval operations
            their capacity for long-tern operations at sea means that
            they can be used throughout the year. They will not be hindered by difficult weather or ice conditions in the Baltic Sea.

          • sid

            “the Baltic which is ice free throughout its expanse and just as some minor freezeups in harbors.”

            Sure. Thats why the Scharnhorst and other elements of the German fleet were trapped in the Baltic for a couple months by heavy sea ice in the southern Baltic and approaches to the Kattegat in early 1940.

            You still insisting the Kattegat is a small town on a fictional tv show Duane?

      • Bubblehead

        Thats 100% not true. A LCS was supposed to sail out for a festival in CA late last year but it was cancelled because the LCS couldn’t get off the pier. If the USN cannot train crew how to operate the LCS after 8 years in the fleet and how many boats in the fleet, it tell you something. What it tells you is there are major problems with the design of the ship and its engines.

        • Duane

          Festival operations, really, you want to claim that?

          ROFLMAO!!!

          Why any ship that cannot make a festival deployment is truly useless to our national security!

        • Lazarus

          Which LCS and when?

    • Kypros

      Doesn’t sound very optimistic. IOW, what they are saying MAYBE 3 deployable by years’ end….but don’t hold us to it.

      • thebard3

        Optimistic, considering zero deployments last year.

        • Kypros

          Yes, the bar is low.

      • Duane

        Per Admiral Brown: “We’re deploying LCS this year, it’s happening,”

        That’s not optimism or hope – it’s a statement of fact.

        • Matthew Schilling

          Well, one deployment in 2019 would satisfy his statement. Yet that would only be 1/3 of a schedule already reduced by 1/4.

          • Duane

            Adm Brown clearly stated three deploy this FY, and one more immediately thereafter, making four deployments this calendar year. There are a total of only 6 LCS that have completed the normal 2-year pre-deployment process out of the 14 hulls delivered. Several of those ships will complete their pre-deployment workups this year and will deploy.

          • Matthew Schilling

            Here’s hoping! We’ve spent billions on these ships, so I want to see them deployed. I don’t want the sailors onboard to be sitting ducks and sacrificial lambs to obtuse, obstinate, arrogant men who would send them out to sea just to prove a point and win an argument.

      • Ron Snyder

        As someone else mentioned, deployed doesn’t mean moving from point X to point Y. It is being able to perform the assigned missions that further the Navy’s interests.

    • Lazarus

      VADM Brown is a straight shooter and if he says they will deploy then they will. It took some time to work out the change from 3-2-1 to blue/gold.

  • GRV01

    Im still wondering when the down-select to one model is going to happen. They talk about maintenance and manning and trainining issues but exacerbate the problem with two completely unrelated hull types. Im not an LCS hater, but some things Big Navy does with the program are just silly

    • Duane

      There is no “down select”. The two different variants have all been authorized to 35 ships total. There is a need for both variants which have different characteristics … the Indy’s, all slated for West Coast service, have longer legs and are better suited for the longer distances in the IndoPac. The Freedom variants with shorter legs are all east coast based where the Atlantic/middle east theater has shorter distances between friendlies and unfriendlies than in the IndoPac.

      • gmurph

        There is a ‘need’ for Congress to maintain this jobs program at current funding levels. What the Navy needs is a ship that can deploy and actually do something after 10 years in the fleet…

        • Duane

          You can’t read apparently. LCS have been deploying for 5 years already, just 9 years after program authorization, far sooner than the Arleigh Burkes deployed (it took them 15 years to do that – but then that was back in the pre-internet trolling era) and 12 years now planned for FFGX.

          • Matthew Schilling

            Yes, but the Arleigh Burkes were designed to do real work with high end equipment and were tasked to fill vital roles, so there’s that.

          • Duane

            Just like the LCS. Different roles, but just as vital.

          • Matthew Schilling

            Right, because defending fisheries and showing the flag is just like providing cover for a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Got it, thanks!

          • Duane

            Defending fisheries? Really? SMH

            So engaging in surface warfare with large swarms of Iranian or NK fast attack craft trying to shut down the Strait of Hormuz where 60% of the world’s oil transits daily, or attacking merchant shipping in the Sea of Japan is defending fisheries?

            Ditto with finding and sinking enemy submarines that, you know, try to sink those CVNs and DDGs … and finding and clearing minefields that also try to sink our ships?

            Those are some pretty dangerous damned fishies!

            SMH

          • Graeme Rymill

            You did read the accompanying article didn’t you?

            “Brown told reporters during the Friday call that the LCS was built to be
            a single-mission ship – in the case of these LCSs deploying in 2019,
            anti-surface warfare (ASuW). He said the ships would focus on ASuW-only
            activities like partner-building exercises, fisheries patrols and other
            work suitable for a small surface combatant.

          • Duane

            Sure they will do that until a war erupts – then they fight .. by the way, that’s what Arleigh Burkes and Ticos do too when they’re not escorting CVNs.

            The USS Mason got attacked by Houthi ASCMs when it was escorting foreign flagged auxiliary ships. Basic presence stuff …then the missiles started flying.

            In fact that is one of the reasons the Navy wants to build many more LCS to do the presence missions that are currently occupying the time of our high end large surface combatants when on deployment. But just because a ship does a low end mission does not disqualify it from quickly transitioning to a high end mission, like defending major shipping routes from enemy attack.

          • Graeme Rymill

            The Arleigh Burke class USS Porter has just been patrolling the Black Sea. Can you seriously see an LCS doing this with its limited air defence?

          • Duane

            Yes, it can. It has plenty of air defense for own ship’s defense. The world’s best point defense systems, in fact – SeaRAM RIM 116s and the 57mm gun (first and foremost an anti aircraft gun – son of the famous Bofors 40 mm AA guns that protected our entire Navy in WW Two).

            The only thing a DDG has different is AREA air defense, with longer ranged missiles. Because, that, uhhh, is the main mission of any of our Arleigh Burkes, to defend CVNs from air and missile attack.

          • Graeme Rymill

            11 RIM 116s in a SeaRAM launcher!

            That the first minute of a Russian cruise missile saturation attack taken care of.

  • Kypros

    Didn’t you say 4 to 8 would be deployed this year as fact, or am I confusing you with someone else?

    • Duane

      I said previously four LCS forward deployments were planned this fiscal year, 2019, as was previously stated by naval leadership. Now the current plan is three before September 30 (end of the FY) and one more shortly thereafter. All four this calendar year. But go ahead and nitpick.

      The Navy recently authorized Raytheon to accelerate the OTH missile program by exercising a contract option … as Adm Brown stated, they’d like to get them on all the deploying LCS if they can, but they also don’t want to hold up deployments waiting on them .. so he naturally would like to see how fast the new missiles and launchers and related equipment can be delivered to the fleet.

      And more thereafter as more and more ships complete their shakedowns and PSAs and integration of new weapons (surface missile module, OTH missiles, ASW module, and MCM module when ready etc.) as stated above and elsewhere.

      LCS will deploy at the same rate as any other warship in the Navy – about 1/3 deployed at any given time, 1/3 in preparation to deploy, and 1/3 in maintenance.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        And one in four as full time testing and/or training assets. NOT to be deployed! You always omit that.

        • Duane

          No – there will still be 1/3 of LCS deployed, 1/3 in preparation for for deployment (that includes the ships assigned to training) and 1/3 in maintenance, just like every other ship type in the fleet.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Wrong. The divisions that the LCS ships are all assigned to are comprised of 4 ships each. The Navy has REPEATEDLY said that ONE SHIP PER DIVISION will be dedicated to training/testing. And those are NOT to be confused with the original 4 ships that are dedicated to that. Well over 30% of the total force will NEVER be available for deployment. Gee, imagine if that held true for the Burkes or the Ticos or the Nimitz carriers or our nuke subs?

          • USNVO

            Need to look at the forward deployed numbers. They regularly deploy about, wait for it, 25pct of the time or less. Sorry, those are just facts, especially if you include transit times .

            As bad a concept as I find the whole rotational crew thing (and I had to live it), the one thing it does well is provide greater forward deployed presence. It does so at the expense of surge capacity, the quality of the forward deployed presence may not be as good (that is subjective of course), and there are a slew of other issues but, for a given number of ships, it does provide more forward deployed presence.

          • Duane

            Our SSBNs love the Blue Gold crew arrangement. It’s only been proven for 60 years and counting, in the sub fleet that is. Yes, we understand that skimmers are slow to pick up on what the sub fleet considers easy peasy standard stuff, but what’er ya gonna do? Skimmers are skimmers.

          • USNVO

            Hardly comparable.

            – The SSBN is single mission so training requirements are much less.
            – SSBNs have an incredible budget.
            – SSBNs have a dedicated support infrastructure, especially compared to any surface ship let alone LCS.
            – There has been only one class of SSBN since the 80s. So there is a large core of people with multiple tours on the ships.
            – An SSBN in drydock’s ice cream has a higher priority than a CASREP part for a DDG, LCS, PC, or even an SSN in a warzone.
            – They have a limited number of ratings and training requirements and excellent (some would say lavish) training facilities. At one time, each TTF had over 700 personnel assigned to support something like 7 boats. LCS not so much although they have been getting better. Much of the LCS training is underway (defeating the whole concept of blue-gold thing but I digress).
            – The SSBN off-crew is really off, they have limited off-ship responsibilities outside of training as opposed to having to maintain and operate an entirely different ship.
            – Outside of the occasional photo-op crew change, the SSBNs return and depart from the same CONUS homeport.

            Besides that, pretty much identical situations.

          • Duane

            Actually, we’ve had multiple classes of SSBNs since the 80s. The Ohios didn’t even begin to enter service until the late 70s, and there were multiple classes of SSBN in service then through the early 2000s before they were all pre-Ohio boats retired.

          • Larwit1512

            I think the LCS Deployment cycle has 2 of the 4 ships in a division forward deployed, with one in maintenance and one in training. That’s 50% OPTEMPO, which vastly exceeds the 20-30% OPTEMPO generated out of Burkes, Ticos, or Nimitzes. Even accounting for the original four being non-deployable, it’s still above 40% OPTEMPO

          • Chesapeakeguy

            That might be the HOPE, but so far it is not the reality. Read the Navy’s OWN pronouncements on this…

            https: // www . navy . mil / submit / display . asp ? story _ id = 96574

          • Larwit1512

            Well of course it’s not the reality yet. Only a handful of ships have been in commission long enough to theoretically deploy, and the vast majority of those were explicitly not deploying.

            Nonetheless, the LCS is projected to maintain an OPTEMPO of near 50% compared to the 20-30% for average warships.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Well, there you go. “Projected”, as in HOPED FOR at present. It is not reality. And I say again on here, I’m pulling for these ships to deliver on what is ‘hoped for’ and even expected of them. I want us taxpayers to be able to have confidence in “the system” to produce capable designs that will indeed prevail if the fur ever hits the fan. But as of recent times, that is a stretch. And it’s not just the LCS. The pther2 major ship programs of this era, the Ford carrier and Zumwalt ‘DDGs’, have been woefully underwhelming as well. I hope those programs turn the corner as well…

          • Larwit1512

            I really can’t argue with you on the Navy’s inability to project manage new shipbuilding programs. Navy-wide, there are massive issues in procurement. Frankly, that extends to the Army and Air Force as well…
            And the LCS does have issues, both conceptually and with the design. Range and punch come to mind.
            HOWEVER, you’re speculating and assuming failure to execute the new Concept of Operation without any data points to go off of.
            FURTHERMORE, you use one data point from the concept of operation “30% non-deployable” but ignore the key fact that it enables a 50% forward deployed rate. THen you compare it to TICOs, Burkes, and CVNs, which have a 20-30% forward deployed rate. (Right now 18% for CVNs)

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I am NOT ‘assuming’ anything. My ‘data points’ are the published information about the LCS themselves. My points about the Ticos and Burkes and CVNs concern how they were NOT prevented from deploying when the Navy wanted to deploy them. After they had their shakedowns and workups, they were, and continue to be, deployable. “Availability” is the key word here. Any that can NOT be deployed are no doubt undergoing major overhauls. I’m not saying they can all be sent out at the snap of someone’s fingers, but they are not being held pier-side while pronouncements are made about “being optimistic” that they can deploy. The numbers that are or are not deployed at any given time reflect navy leadership decisions. I’ll bet my last dime the Navy wants to be able to deploy the LCS at their whim(s) The reason they don’t is because they CAN’T. Not yet. THAT’S the difference…

          • Larwit1512

            Under the operational concept announced back in 2016, no the Navy cannot forward deploy an LCS today. The first four, under the 2016 concept are explicitly non-deplorable, and the next few were explicitly training vessels.

            The number of vessels commissioned long enough to train up and deploy by now under the new operational concept is pretty close to zero.

            There’s zero data points to suggest that going forward the Navy can’t execute the new operational concept.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            “There’s zero data points to suggest that going forward the Navy can’t execute the new operational concept.”

            Maybe not, but until they DO the facts are what they are.

          • Larwit1512

            Ok, fair point. However you dwelled on a perceived fault in the operational construct “30% never to deploy,” which is of course not a true data point (The original LCS have all deployed).

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Your own words confirm that. The first 4 are, as you say, “non-deployable”. Those “next few” as you put it are every 1 out of 4 that are constructed. Correct me if my numbers are incorrect, but last I saw the LCS force will consist of 32 ships. As we know, the first 4 are test beds for all intents and purposes. That leaves 28 other hulls. Of those 28 hulls, 7 are dedicated to training. The LCS’s are assigned to ‘divisions’ of 4 ships each. So with 1 out of 4 in each division devoted to training, that means 21 deployable hulls total. Unless my math is wrong 21 of 32 = 66%. So 34% of the force is NOT deployable. Again, I invite you to show me where I’m wrong about any of this. I certainly HOPE that those dedicated training ships CAN be deployed if needed. But I have personally seen nothing from the Navy that indicates such a contingency.

          • Larwit1512

            Yes 34% are non-deployablr under the Conop. However that leaves 14/32 (44%) deployed and 7/32 (22%) in maintenance.

            Both of those numbers are significantly better than any other class of ship.

            I don’t know how deployable the 11 training/test LCS will be. I suspect they’ll need time, but can still surge.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Where do you get that ANY are ‘deployed’? What is your source? The NAVY itself announced in late 2017 or very early 2018 that no, repeat, NO, LCS’s would be deployed, AT ALL. Did you catch what this particular article is all about? Here, I’ll copy and paste the headline…

            “Navy Set to Restart LCS Deployments this Year, Despite Challenges in Manning, Training”…

            It says “RESTART”, as in there have been NONE. But wait, there’s more…

            “The Navy is optimistic it will deploy three Littoral Combat Ships by this fall, after not deploying any last year and grappling with significant gaps in manning and advanced training.”

            I mean, what more do you need? These are not my words, or my source. This very thread is devoted to it. So where do you get stats that say ANY percentage of them are currently deployed? The best they are reporting and hoping for is that 3 will deploy before the END of 2019!

          • Larwit1512

            Again, that is the CONOP the Navy is using. You can’t reference 34% are non deployable and then ignore the 44% that will be deployed at any given time.

          • Larwit1512

            Again, you’re conflating the current “zero are deployed” and the future “34% are non deployable”. Pick one frame of discussion and stick with it.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I’m sticking with the facts. You and anyone else can state all you want about what the Navy “wants to to do” or “intends to do” or ‘what the CONOP says’, but until they actually DO IT, they haven’t done anything. I don’t know why that is so hard to accept. And the Navy has not walked back anything that applies to the 34% of the LCS vessels that THEY have no plans for deploying. Not my words, theirs.

            Maybe you should be taking this up with THEM!

          • Larwit1512

            That’s fine, but your “34%” comes from what the Navy “wants to do” or “intends to do” or “what the CONOP says”. Because, based on what the Navy has actually done, most of your 34% not only is deployable but did deploy….

          • Larwit1512

            LCS 1, 3, and 4 all did 8+ month deployments to Westpac, and LCS 2 has done at least one RIMPAC in addition to various testing. So if you’re going with Past tense, your “34%” are non-deployable is disproven by the facts. If you’re going with Future tense, then “34% are non-deployable” is only relevant in the context of 50% being forward deployed.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            So what? That was then, this is now. What makes any of them ‘non-deployable’ is the NAVY’S OWN DECISION. Again, I just don’t grasp why you don’t or can’t get that. It’s like your holding your fingers in your ears while you stomp your feet with your eyes squeezed shut as you holler “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you” over and over again. Hate me and the undeniable, indisputable facts all you want, it doesn’t change what the Navy has implemented.

            One more time (as I obviously talk to the wall), the first 4 are to be ‘testers’, 7 of the next 28 are to be ‘trainers’. NONE of those will deploy. Until the NAVY states otherwise, that is their plan. And seeing how NONE have deployed since the beginning of last year, and the HOPE is that all of THREE of them will maybe, finally deploy in the later part of this year, your numbers don’t add up. Keep your fingers crossed. maybe one year, or decade, they will!

          • Larwit1512

            Yes, 11 are non-deploying under the Navy’s CONOP, leaving 14 deployed and 7 in maintenance at any given time. Far better than the CGs or DDGs.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Geezz, my head is spinning. None, repeat NONE, are deployed! In the last part of this year, the hope is that THREE will finally deploy. As of Jan. 22 of this year, the Navy had/has 51 ships out of 287 classified as being ‘deployed’ and ‘under way’, with a further 27 described as ‘non-deployed’ but ‘underway’. NONE of the deployed ships are LCS’s. As to how often Burke’s and Ticos are deployed, when they do deploy they are gone for at least 6 months, and quite often for far longer. And they do quite a bot of some truly ‘hard sailing’ per deployment. Also, the spend a considerable amount of time ‘underway’ when not in a dry dock.

          • Larwit1512

            Your head shouldn’t spin. It’s not a hard concept. WHEN they have built all 32 ships, and begun executing the CONOP, there will be 14 ships forward deployed at any given time.

            51 of 287 is 17.7%. 14 of 32 is 44%. Which is bigger pray tell.

            LCS deployments will be 12 months, and will involve the same “hard sailing”.

            And there’s no reason the 11 “non deployables” won’t do the same time underway, just not forward deployed

          • Chesapeakeguy

            You are trying to present as fact things that have not happened. You are echoing “the hope” as opposed to what IS the reality, at least what reality is so far! As this article points out vividly, the navy is “optimistic” that they can finally deploy 3 of the LCS’s late this year. They HOPE that that happens.

            “51 of 287 is 17.7%. 14 of 32 is 44%. Which is bigger pray tell.”

            They ALL are bigger than ZERO! Because ZERO REMAINS the present LCS deployment rate, percentage, number, whatever!

            You seem to be another one of those who permeate these boards who cheerlead for the LCS and in doing so denigrate the ships that have been and will continue to carry the heavy load if the fur ever hits the fan. If we ever do go to war with a peer or near peer adversary, do you think the deployment rates for Burkes and Ticos and CVNs will represent a small percentage of their time? Give me a breal…

          • Larwit1512

            So yes, while it’s accurate that 30% of the LCS force will never forward deploy (I do imagine that force might get tapped for SOUTHCOM missions), it obscures the fact that enables 50% of the force to be forward deployed.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            ‘Enabled’ IF they can ever work all the bugs out! Let’s hope that happens..

          • Duane

            The bugs have been “out” for years.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Yeah, right. To the point that the Navy is “optimistic” that they will finally deploy near the end of this current year.

            Next?

          • Duane

            No you’re wrong. I explain elsewhere.

      • DaSaint

        How many years did it take fully armed Burkes to deploy? 10?

        • Duane

          The Arleigh Burke class of destroyers was authorized as a program in the late 1970s. The first ship to be delivered, DDG 51, was not delivered until 1991 – 13 years after program authorization. The first deployment of DDG 51 wasn’t until 1993 – 15 years after program authorization.

          It took just 9 years from program authorization in 2004 to first deployment by an LCS in 2013. Much less than the current plan (which may or may not be achieved) for FFGX, which is 12 years from program authorization to first deployment.

          • DaSaint

            But that’s not what I asked. Maybe I should be more clear: after the ship was commissioned, how long did it take for its first fully equipped deployment? Was it missing any key systems or weapons?

          • Duane

            For the DDG-51, about two years from commissioning to first deployment, which is typical for most ships, though sometimes larger or more complex ships like the Ford CVN take longer. The first DDG-51 had a LOT of problems with its gear after it was delivered. And the DDG-51 was a far cry from today’s Flight II ships in terms of capability.

            But you cannot ignore the design development timeframe as if it does not matter. The longer the development timeframe, the better and more defect free should be the ship. Also, the more radical a departure of the ship design, the longer it should take for both development and in post-commissioning testing and fixing.

            The Arleigh Burke was essentially a conventional destroyer/cruiser hull outfitted with a new radar, the SPY-1 and AEGIS, both of which had already been developed on the TIco CGs years before, so it was not a radical new design. The power plant had been developed decades earlier. Yet it still took 15 years from program authorization to first deployment.

            LCS took only 9 years to go from authorization to first deployment AND the LCS are obviously radical new ship designs .. indeed, much of the technology now installed on all the new LCS today did not even exist at all in 2004 when the program was authorized.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The development of the DDG-51 had nothing to do with engineering problems. The Burkes are on an entirely different hull than the Spruances or Ticos. They were designed with the new concepts of ‘stealth’ in mind, which was a huge part of the development effort, and of which ships that came along afterwards, like the LCS, benefit from. And even after severe collisions and successful terrorist attacks, none of them are being held back from deployment. I’ll bet my last dime that if any LCS is actually deployed, and if that LCS should fall prey to a hostile act, the entire class will be ‘redeployed’ pier-side to see how that can be prevented from happening again.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Once the Burkes deployed, how often were they unable to? How many ENTIRE YEARS did no Burkes deploy after they had cleared ‘development’ and testing and all that?

            Hmmm?

          • Duane

            Let’s see … a total of three Arleigh Burkes stayed undeployed, unplanned, for more than a year each to recover from errors made in port defense (allowing an unidentified fishing skiff to come up alongside and blow out the side of the ship), and two more ships running into merchant ships in regular civil sea lanes. Accountoing for several ship years of down time … So far LCS have not committed any of those snafus that killed dozens of sailors and cost the taxpayers about a billion in repair bills. Oh, and that Oliver Hazard Perry class ship that allowed an Iraqi F-14 to come within visual range and fire off two ASCMs that took that ship out of action for more than a year, costing more than the cost of a new OHP, and killed 37 sailors? No, far better to bitch about a couple of minor engineering casualties on LCS that cost practically nothing by comparison to fix, and no dead sailors.

            Are you trying to suggest that somehow Burkes have this unblemished record of success, while the LCS have done what exactly, besides not collide with any merchant ships, not get taken out by a fishing skiff, and not kill any US sailors.

            Any historical deficiencies in LCS absolutely pale beside the well documented failures of the Burkes.

            I am not anti-Burke .. I am pro Navy and pro all US Navy ships and the sailors who sail on them. But the utter ridiculousness and petttiness of the LCS trolls is beyond flabbergasting. You guys give nitpickers a very bad name.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Hey Duane, don’t look now, but for ships to be attacked in a foreign port, or to collide with ships while steaming, they have to be DEPLOYED! The LCS doesn’t appear to ever be in danger of that, given how they are kept ‘deployed’ to piers here in the States!

            Please show me where the Burkes collisions or attack had anything to do with the design or the equipment on them. Take your time, I’ll wait. That sailors did and do stupid things comes with the territory. Didn’t YOU try to excuse a LCS casualty as ‘operator error’?

            Oh, and Duane, while we’re on the subject, let’s take a look at how the Navy has concluded how they will have to operate the LCS, if they are ever actually deployed. From Wikipedia (just type in “LCS class ship”)…

            “In April 2012, Chief of Naval Operations Greenert said, “You won’t send it into an anti-access area,” rather groups of two or three ships are intended to be sent into areas where access is jeopardized to perform missions like minesweeping while under the cover of a destroyer. The LCS main purpose is to take up operations such as patrolling, port visits, anti-piracy, and partnership-building exercises to free up high-end surface combatants for increased combat availability.[6] Navy Secretary Ray Mabus clarified that the ship could operate in combat areas while under the protection of other warships.[24]

            The LCS’ utility against high-tech enemies would be when working with
            and being covered by destroyers, like they do with aircraft carriers.
            With destroyers providing extended air and missile defense, the cheaper
            (one-fourth the cost of a destroyer) and more numerous LCS can sweep for
            mines and deploy more sophisticated submarine detecting sonar.”

            They CAN NOT OPERATE unless covered by a Burke or Tico! So get all the glee you want out of dead sailors and other casualties that were the results of BAD DECISIONS on the parts of some among their crews all you want, the fact remains that nobody has any confidence to deploy LCS. And the evidence indicates they can’t deploy even if and when the Navy wants to.

          • Duane

            So LCS were deployed to the world’s most contested seas for years before – the South China Seas – full of aggressive Chinese vessels and pirates and terrorists.

            You have no point.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            And now they’re not deployable at all. My point resonates.

            Oh, and while they dealt with those ‘aggressive’ ChiComs, and terrorists, and pirates, I’ll bet my last dime they were protected by an actual combat ship! After all, the Navy themselves said they can’t be sent any place a threat to them might exist without protection. Their words, not mine!

          • Duane

            6 ships are deployable today. 4 will deploy this calendar year. Your point falls totally flat.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            “Deployable” you say, yet, NONE will be deployed until late in this year, and that’s IF the Navy’s “optimism” is rewarded! And NONE have been ‘deployed’ since the year before last!

            My points CONTINUE to resonate. I get it that you hate that, but oh well. The truth is what it is…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            1980 was when they were authorized. The first ship was laid down in late 1988, and was commissioned 2 and a half years later. They were not pier queens for years before the fleet started getting their value out of them. Look it up!

          • Duane

            late 1970s program start. That’s per the official US navy fact sheet on the DDG-51s.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            1980. The OFFICIAL start. The Navy initiated design studies. In 1983 they reduced the number of contractors to 3. In April 1985 Bath received the first build order. It was laid down in Dec. 1988. Look it up!

          • Duane

            I did .. look it up yourself, official US Navy fact sheet on the DDG – 51s, posted online for all to see.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I did look it up Duane, that’s why I KNOW. Why are you so intimidated or frightened of actual facts, hmmm?

        • Chesapeakeguy

          How many years from when? When they were first authorized? From when they were first commissioned? There is a site online called www us carriers dot net slash ddg51 history that has a detailed itinerary of the USS Arleigh Burke since the time of its commissioning in July of 1991. The AB’s first actual, official deployment took place in early 1993. Construction was commenced on her near the end of 1988. Hope that helps…

      • Larwit1512

        Where do you get the 1/3,1/3,1/3 from? I read it as four ships and seven crews keep two forward deployed, one in training, and one in maintenance

  • Ed L

    I finally found a u tube Video in real time 3 hellfire missiles fired at 3 moving targets. Cool Beans.

    • Bubblehead

      By the time even fast boats come within range of hellfire, they would already had time to do ample damage to an LCS. Just because they are fast boats doesn’t mean they are going to pull 100ft from a LCS and fire AK-47s. They will be carrying ATGW, Manpads, rockets and torpedo’s.

      • Hugh

        Not just fast boats, but in times of conflict what missiles etc could be covertly fitted to certain fishing fleets?

      • Duane

        The Hellfire launcher is just one of many layers of defense and offense for LCS. Like any good system, layers is best, with overlapping ranges.

        Starts out very long range, with OTH missiles (105 nm) for larger ship sized targets; also the MH-60 and MQ-8s (both B and C models) are armed with Hellfires and 2.75 precision guided rockets, and can range out to well in excess of 100 nm from the ship if needed, and sense out to 250-300 nm with their AESA synthetic appurture radars and FLIR sensors The MH-60 also carries the Mk 46 or 54 torpedoes for ASW work, and the large MQ-8C also has the payload to carry a pair of torpedoes too, as well as Hellfires.

        Then comes the Mk 110 57 mm gun with an effective range of 10 nm with precision guided (1.0 meter precision) rounds, plus SeaRAM (block 2 ranges out to 10 nm) against both subsonic and supersonic ASCMs; then at about 5 miles, the ship-launched Hellfire Longbows, and at 2 miles, the pair of Mk 46 30mm gun mounts; and at 1 mile the two 50 cal guns. Plus the RHIBs which come with 50 cal guns too. Extensive sensors, both on the ship and on the embarked aircratt, networked to ships weapons. Torpedo defenses too, as well as ECM and other contermeasures.

        The unmanned vessels deployed on LCS are also capable of deploying SuW and ASW sensors and weapons.

        These are the most lethal littoral warships on the planet.

        • Ziv Bnd

          Do any of the LCS have the ship based radar systems needed to target an enemy ship at 105 nm? I know that they can do so if they have a helo in the air, but I am not sure if they can with out the air assets.

          How many of more recent LCS have OTH missiles as a standard weapon load at this time?
          Is there any source for what the effective range is of the 57mm with the ALaMO guided rounds?

          Sorry for all the questions. But those are the ones that seem fairly important this year and next.
          It is nice to see the Hellfire bring a bit more firepower to the LCS but it is way too shortlegged to really help the LCS offensive punch much.

          • Al L.

            No ship on the planet has organic radar systems to target a ship at 105nm. To do so the radar has to be more than 5500 feet above sea level.

          • Ziv Bnd

            I believe that the AN/SPY-1 could spot and then target an enemy surface combatant at ranges that are well in excess of 150 nm and sea skimming missiles out beyond 40 nm. But the LCS have deployed with Sea Giraffe, not AN/SPY-1.
            But, on edit, I find that the SeaGIRAFFE has the following claims on Wiki, for what that is worth:

            ” AN/SPS 77 V(2) for LCS 6 and higher.[4] The radar has an instrumented range of 180 kilometres.[5] Its roles include:

            Air surveillance and tracking
            Surface surveillance and tracking
            Target identification for weapon systems
            High-resolution splash spotting ”

            Whether the effective targeting range for surface targets is anywhere close to 180 km is another story…

          • Duane

            No – not surface targets. The curvature of the earth limits sensing of surface targets from beyond the radar horizon, which is only a little beyond the geometrical horizon.

            For high flying aircraft and missiles, the SPY-1 can see out to a couple hundred mile range, the new SPY-6 even longer (more powerful, and its high resolution power is mainly for tracking exo-atmospheric ICBMs and IRBMs, to distinguish between nukes and decoys after separation from the booster.

          • Al L.

            The earth is curved and the laws of physics do not change based on which model of radar is on a ship. No ships radar on the planet spots another ship beyond about 50nm which is mostly dependant on the height of the 2 ships in question. Other sensors may be able to approximate a ships location well enough to target a active seeker missile, but radar is limited by the radar horizon just like your eyes are limited by the visual horizon. There are over the horizon radars but they would occupy the entire deck of several aircraft carriers.

          • Al L.

            deleted

          • Duane

            Yes – that requires networked offship sensors, particularly airborne.

            LCS deploys 2 to 4 aircraft with such sensors that are networked to the combat info management system … in 2017 the USS Coronado did a successful test fire of a Harpoon against a surface target using targeting data acquired by its own MQ-8B drone. The first ever drone-targeted SuW fire on the planet.

            Other aircraft can also provide offship targeting data, such as P-8s, MQ-4s, F-35s, Super Hornets, etc.

            This is what NIFCCA means – networked sensors and shooters.

          • Duane

            No surface radar can sense surface targets from much beyond the physical horizon. Including AEGIS DDGs and CGs. Their long range radars can only sense high altitude aircraft and missiles from hundreds of miles out.

            The three or four aircraft deployed on each LCS – one or two MH-60s and up to three MQ-8s, for a total of up to four aircraft combined – are each equipped with AESA synthetic aperture radars and FLIR sensors. Depending upon flight altitude, which can range up to around 20,000 feet, gives a maximumn surface search capability of up to 150-180 nm give or take, theoretically .. plus the distance of the sensor from the ship. The MQ-8B has an endurance of 8 hours, and the C model up to 15 hours, with cruise speeds of about 115-120 knots .. so they can easily range out far from the mother ship, 100+ nm.

            As for the OTH missiles, the Navy stated last June that the plan is to mount OTH missiles on ALL LCS … but that will likely take a few years to deliver and install that many missiles. Priority going to deploying LCS.

            The ALAMO is claimed to suffer no loss of range from unguided rounds, which means up to about 10 nm range. The guide vanes, which cause aerodynamic drag and tend to reduce ballistic range, don’t pop out til the terminal phase of flight. The ORKA rounds by BAE are good out to about 5 nm.

            The “offensive punch” of the Hellfires is not that limited, actually. For one, LCS can do up to 45 knots meaning they can chase down or at minimum keep up with fleeing small surface craft. Also, the MH-60 and the MQ-8s can also deploy Hellfires and APKWS 2.75 in guided rockets (same as used on AH-64 Apaches) at much longer ranges from the mother ship.

        • Luke Shaver

          The maximum range of the Mk 110 according to BAE systems is about 10 nmi, not the effective range which is less. With the guided munitions that might be a bit different, but I haven’t heard anything about the range of those yet.

          • Duane

            With ALAMO precision guided projectiles “effective range” is the same as max range. The guidance mechanism takes it to the target, it goes boom, target goes down. The ORKA rounds have about half the range of the unguided rounds because their draggy guide vanes deploy as soon as it leaves the barrel. ALAMO guide vanes don’t deploy until in the terminal phase of its ballistic trajectory, thus not shortening the range.

        • Adrian Ah

          What “torpedo defences”?

          Are they even carrying towed decoys at this point in time?

      • Hellfire – 5nm
        Kornet ATGM – 3nm

        Nothing you can put on a small boat is going to come close to outranging Hellfire, let alone the MH-60 / MQ-8 combination that is LCS’s primary weapon.

      • Ed L

        Did you ever shoot a machine gun from a small boat at Sea! I have an an M-60 mounted on an LCPL going full throttle trying to hit a 55 gallon battle 300 yards away in a 2 foot sea. We made 5 runs. I was the worst shot getting 3 hits out of 30. A Marine got 17 out of 30.

  • airider

    Yawn … and in other news, the rest of the fleet continues to do their job without headlines.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Yipes. This is very bad. The article reads like the background facts of a Class A mishap report.

    Under-trained personnel, no slack for manning shortfalls, little work-up training, no certification process. And pressure from multiple Flags to deploy.

    My fear is that in a year we’re going to be reading about an LCS collision – which won’t turn out well for the LCS or its crew. And wondering why they deployed LCS when there were so many red flags.

    Hope I’m wrong…

    • Lazarus

      LCS training is actually quite comprehensive and forces the crew to be certified both individually and as teams before deployment.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        You are apparently explaining the intent. I am talking execution for deployments this year.

        Again: read the article. It doesn’t seem like the Bureau is getting them the properly trained (NEC) folks as required. Nor does the plan for certifying the ships sound very well fleshed out.

        • Lazarus

          One set of slides is a snapshot in time and not an analysis of deployability.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            It’s a data point. And not a very reassuring one.

          • Duane

            Reassuring to LCS trolls, apparently .. just witness this witless thread.

          • Lazarus

            The article did not publish these slides so agree this remains opinion of what they said.

          • Lazarus

            The slides are only quoted and not displayed, so opinion and not fact.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Seems a pretty weak defense. Particularly coming from someone who relies upon unpublished data to make his arguments.

        • Lazarus

          The certification plan is more comprehensive and mature than the rest of the surface fleet training plan.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            That is not saying much. It is also largely unproven.

  • Ed L

    Heck put four freedom class LCS in the Persian gulf.

    • Duane

      2 this year in Bahrain .. plans for a 4-ship squadron in another year or two.

  • Adrian Ah

    They are sending the LCS to the East and West coasts of the US. Is that really a deployment?

    • Duane

      No – the deployments are to forward foreign bases, typically for extended periods (at least 12 months, with one Blue-Gold crew change). Right now Singapore and Bahrain, perhaps others in the coming years.

  • Andy Ferguson

    You keep leaving out the size of that LCS fleet.

    • Duane

      A total of 6 deployable hulls in FY2018 – with two in planned maintenance availabilities, leaving a grand total of 4 ships available to deploy last year .. the other 8 ships are all brand new ships within the normal 2-year pre-deployment period (training, shakedown, post-shakedown availability, and final pre-deployment training. The four deployable ships were used for new construction training and new equipment testing and integration work through FY-2018.

      And now 4 ships will deploy this calendar year.

      Your point is?

      • CHENG1087

        “… the normal 2-year pre-deployment period …”? Is this now the standard for a newly commissioned USN warship? Do DDG-51s sit alongside the pier for two full years after commissioning? Or is this “normal” just for the LCS (and perhaps the DDG-1000s)?

        • Duane

          Pre-deployment consists of shakedown cruise, basic crew training, post-shakedown availability, and then pre-deployment training. Virtually all US warships go through the same process, which typically takes about two years .. it can be longer for larger, more complex ships like CVNs, or ships that represent radical redesigns like LCS or the Ford CVN or Zumwalts.

  • Ron8200

    Non deployed ships in a overworked fleet. Yet we are building more.

  • Lazarus

    Crew sizes of all ships are going to get smaller as people are costly. The article lays out what is well known to many; that the Navy in general is short on people while it is trying to grow the fleet in size. LCS has a very comprehensive training program that forces crews to qualify as undividuals and teams before allowing them to deploy. The lessons from the engineering casualties on early ships made it clear that comprehensive training, including shore-based engineering and simulators was needed.

    • Matthew Schilling

      I was an RM on a ship going through INSURV in Gitmo back in the mid 80’s. While we were supposed to have 14 RMs, we only had 8. The moment the inspectors stepped into our shack, our LT said that he objected, and went on with a little speech about how we were sorely undermanned and too much was being asked of his men, etc. When he finished, the lead inspector replied, “Are you done? Good. Let’s proceed.” We passed.
      We couldn’t have kept up that pace forever, but a certain esprit de corps arises when you’re overworked and your back is against the wall. (of course, 2017 proved it’s no way to run a Navy)
      It reminds me of a truism I have seen confirmed on several occasions: “If you want something done, ask someone busy”.

    • But is shrinking crews really saving money when the smaller crew requires far more training and missing a handful of people leaves ships non-deployable?

      • Duane

        Ships won’t be left non-deployable if a warm body goes down .. there is a complete backup crew available at all times, which is not true for any other US Navy ship (including SSBNs). If any crewmember goes down on the deployed ship, his double can be flown over overnight.

        Besides, having shortages of key well trained crewmembers is nothing new at all. At various times during my four year tour as a reactor operator on a SSN during the Cold War, I had to stand port and starboard watches continuously for weeks at a time, sometimes on long SpecOps chasing Rooskies and unable to go into port to pick up a replacement warm body even if any were available. Even then it wouldn’t help because a nuke has to qualify on a particular ship, and can’t just be plugged in and stand watches.

        Because I was only one of two qualfied ROs underway, despite the minimum specified complement being at least three, and most of the time four or five on board on deployment. Stuff happens, and you make do when it does, which can suck.

        The Navy is no place for snowflakes. At least not on shipboard deployments.

  • Matthew Schilling

    So, since these ships can’t afford to lose even a single member of the crew, I take it there won’t be any young women on them, since they tend to get pregnant and go away for awhile…

    • Duane

      Not true at all.

      This article completely ignores the fact that every LCS has two fully qualified and trained crews, with one complete crew always on standby undergoing training and qualification. If a Blue crew loses a warm body or two, all it takes is a message to home base and the necessary, fully trained and fully qualified Gold crew members are on their way. No other ship in the Navy can do that … even SSBNs can’t do that while on patrol.

      • Matthew Schilling

        But, even you admit they backup crew isn’t doing nothing while not deployed. They aren’t just sitting on the bench, waiting for a chance to get sent into the game. That Gold crew member being called for may be in the midst of getting fully qualified, and that process is interrupted by being sent to sea ahead of schedule.

        • Duane

          Of course the standby crew isn’t just loafing or playing poker … they’re doing training, prepping work packages, going to schools, leave time, etc. Which, by the way, is absolutely great for the sailors. Beats the heck out of 12 months a year of sea time.

          Will it be a little inconvenient to get called in to join the other crew on deployment should a corresponding sailor from the other crew go down? Sure. But hey, that’s the Navy life.

          But unlike every other single ship in the Navy, only the LCS has a complete standby crew already fully qualified and ready immediately to stand watch at all times, just a day’s plane ride away.

  • RobM1981

    Aye, carumba, what a mess…

    ” He said the ships would focus on ASuW-only activities like partner-building exercises, fisheries patrols and other work suitable for a small surface combatant.”

    Seriously?

    I have two words for you:

    COAST
    GUARD

    You want to use the NAVY to defend fisheries?

    Do they hear themselves? This is madness. I was hoping the Trump administration would stop this insanity and route the money someplace useful.

    The swamp is deep, indeed.

    • thelaine

      Agreed, and at what COST? The merits of the LCS are drowned in the money it has cost. It reminds me of a miniature Zumwalt class “destroyer.” Someday, those will be useful as well, but at a cost that is truly monumental. All this money, and no accountability. People should have gone to jail for the criminally negligent way these programs were handled, but accountability has been zero.

      They could have bought existing designs and had them out and doing work for YEARS now at a fraction of the cost. Instead, we will just keep pouring money into them until we get ships that can do something. Well done, Navy. Well done, LCS apologists and gravy-trainers. Screw you, taxpayer. Assume the position, we are going to keep coming back for more.

      • thebard3

        It’s not entirely different than other defense acquisitions that later go awry, or government acquisitions in general.

        • thelaine

          Too true.

  • PolicyWonk

    “We are very excited about that because the naval component commanders are screaming for LCSs because they know what they’re going to bring to the fight.”
    =============================================
    And so do potential adversaries and those unfortunate enough to be ordered to man them (who aren’t stupid): by far the weakest armed/worst protected/gutless naval ship in its class.

  • “We are very excited about that because the naval component commanders are screaming for LCSs because they know what they’re going to bring to the fight.”
    What exactly do they bring? Besides having a flight deck, presence OPS (just like the FFG’s towards the end) are really all they bring. Make these things more lethal or make them your flag-wavers.

  • gonavy81

    I see no discussion of the capacity to support the PMS and Housekeeping Availabilities the deployed ships require. These crews generally don’t conduct PMS and housekeeping tasks, which are provided by contracted teams from a “PMS in a box” model working out of Conex boxes on the pier.

  • CHENG1087

    During that 14 month “deployment,” how many days were logged as “underway”? And how many days was that LCS in some sort of “restricted availability,” and therefor not available to get underway? Just askin’.

    • Duane

      I don’t have the data or the ship’s log. But pretty certain that USNI has at least a few posts written about the Coronado’s activities on deployment. I believe the CO wrote a summary of the deployment that was posted on USNI.

      In short, the Coronado did the same kinds of stuff any other US Navy warship does on deployments. Presence operations, participation with allied partner vessels. It did one RimPAC. It demonstrated the first in history drone-targeted launch of a ASCM using its MQ-8B drone and a Harpoon missile (it deployed with the Harpoons on a standard Mk 141 angled deck launcher). Those are a few of the things it did.

  • siempre44

    Considering the LCS is essentially unarmed and has no viable missions, the fewer deployments, the less waste.

  • gmurph

    Define a deployment. Going to Singapore and sitting pierside for 90% of the time does not really constitute a deployment. What was their percentage of time available to respond to and carry out the fleet commander’s tasking. The USN doesn’t really need ships that can do counter drug ops successfully. If that is what they are good for, then they should be DHS assets.

    I can read just fine, I am just not an LCS fan boi willing to take a PAO release at face value.

    • Duane

      Going to Singapore IS a deployment, as is Bahrain. They do not sit at the pier 90% of the time, LCS steam exactly as much as any other US navy ship on deployment.

      Get serious.

  • Duane

    From a post on military dot com today, quoting VCNO Moran, in response to this here post on USNI:

    Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium, Moran said he is “not at all worried about LCS manning right now.”

    “What Admiral Brown is rightly focused on is that the training for the crews is as good as we can make it,” Moran said. “Talk to the junior officers. They’ll tell you the training they’ve gotten before getting on those ships is far better than they’ve received on any other ships.”

  • old guy

    To my best knowledge we have never had Two classes of ships that were failures, at the same time. Even Duane will have to admit that we (My inside contacts and I) SUCCESSFULLY cut the buy for the DD1000, from 14 to 3 (the keels already laid). It’s disasterous flopover in the DTNSRDC turning basin, proved its vulnerability. The LCS, started under the SEAMOD concept, created by my people, in NAVSEA 03R, in 1978, has proven to be so poor, that it , probably be consigned to MCM and escort duties. Incidentally, I was thrilled to see Maritime Reporter headline MODULARITY, its time has come. The booming sound you hear is me ponding my chest. Cough, Cough.

  • RunningBear

    Ok, I give up! (220+ comments), has anyone mentioned the pending “at sea” testing of the ASW modules. If so, what is the 2019 schedule with the LCS, which type and where??
    Thanks in advance.
    Fly Navy
    🙂