Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Byron - you're buying the beer


Best Sea & Anchor detail in the Navy - and the right call.
Florida's Mayport naval base got a boost March 9 when the U.S. Navy's top officer confirmed it as the future home and primary site of East Coast Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

The first LCS vessels are to be homeported at Mayport beginning in 2016, Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said during a military construction hearing on Capitol Hill.

The ships, of which two are now in service, are initially being based at San Diego.
Here is the fun part I have yet to see discussed. When the down-select takes place - where will the loser ships be based?

Oh, speaking of hard questions.
This is why so many people owe me beer. When LCS becomes what it was sold as not being - then I win.
"We see it as a replacement for the FFG class (frigates)," Roughead told the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee.
The LCS cannot do what a Frigate is supposed to do. Not even close. It is a large, expensive, low endurance, under-armed Corvette. -1 for the CNO .... but +1 for this.
Roughead also touched on the other good news Mayport has heard recently: that the base will serve as homeport for a nuclear aircraft carrier.

He told the subcommittee the decision, which wasn't taken lightly, was in the best interest of national security.
Exactly the right call CNO. Roughead, Harvey, and Salamander all in full alignment. Mark your calendars.
UPDATE: Oh, as usual, when it comes to the changing story on LCS - the funny stuff just keeps on coming.
First, the Navy began exploring what it would take to equip an LCS with a towed sonar array — which would be the ship’s first on-board underwater sensor and could usher in a new set of tactics for the fleet to hunt for submarines.

Second, new Pentagon documents cast doubt on the future of the Army’s Non-Line-Of-Sight missile planned for use aboard LCS, raising questions about whether the ships’ tactics for surface combat — predicated upon it wielding a short-range surface-to-surface missile — would also have to change.

Taken together, the Navy’s request for proposals about an LCS sonar and the Army’s internal deliberations about NLOS showed that even as the Navy prepares to decide this summer which of the two competing LCS designs it will put into full production, basic assumptions about the whole LCS concept remain in flux.
In Philip Ewing's dead-tree story, he describes one of the ASW vignettes. What a howler. Sprint & drift ASW in an open ocean with a CSG/ESG. The engineering and weight issues alone are one thing - but the sea keeping and sustainment issues leave me ROFLMAO.

As LCS continues to expose its internal failures for all to see - and the LCS Cult attempts to respond to each exposure - you know what the ever evolving LCS spin reminds me of? This.



Hey - I like that metaphor. Bloggers and other opponents of LCS are the barking dogs --- the dogs that run away are those on active duty whose are PCS'n out away from the program before the stink gets on their FITREPs --- the dogs caught are those on active duty who try to speak out about LCS's record and/or just took over from the dogs leaving .... you could go on and on ... Hey, any way you look at it - it's ugly.

68 comments:

Captan.joe said...

So, it'll be an escort for the carrier, a sub hunter carrying a LAMPS or whatever. And if the helo needs heavy maintenance, it'll go to the carrier.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

So, we are buying ships 2/3 the size of a CLEVELAND Class CL, armed with only an optically aimed 57mm.  Oh, yes, how nice.  That do not have the crew size to fight, sail, and DC the ship. That may even become a Total Constructive Loss after it's first heavy storm.

I have enough alcoholics in my family that I never touch the stuff, but this sort of thing makes me wonder if I should review that policy.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Well on the way to being a 2 ship class and a 5 ship class, decommissioned early after obvious failure in the unforgiving oceans, and a obscure footnote in the history of design failure for warships.

And the sooner, the better. 

50 knots of speed and an array guaranteed to be both self noise and sea state limited at half that.  Impressive. By the fact that it's even being proposed  you can safely put your money down that those little robo boats in the ASW module are as inadequate as they look.  If they can't get the gun armament right, they have no hope for underwater sensors and weapons.

Byron said...

2016? Dude, I'll be sitting in a wheelchair on the porch of the old folks home drinking a cold Bud. I'm freakin' 58 now, do you think I'll still be crawling around bilges at 74? Besides, one of these chicken-stuff bathtub toys is going to founder in heavy weather before then, God protect her sailors, and they'll finally have the sense to park these floating death-traps.

Smarter than some said...

Who was the friggin idiot or gaggle of rocket scientists that bought into this BS waste of money? Can people be this ignorant or is it in the water? A Thai bongo boat with a 20 mm would sink this POS.

Byron said...

Good question. Feel free to ask Roughhead or Mullen. This train wreck is happening on THEIR watch.

AW1 Tim said...

You guys get the word that BIW cut it's ties with Austel and the LCS joint venture?  Means that BIW can walk away from the program OR jump in to bid on future contracts to build up in Maine, if it so feels like it.

RhodeIslander said...

Paraphrasing Professor Hugh White, Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University:

NAVSEA wanted a cheap warship that could do everything.   The reason they want this do-all LCS is because NAVSEA isn't quite sure what they want this "warship" to do.

"if you're not sure what it's meant to be doing, there's a lot of temptation to go out and buy one that can do everything.  That drives up risk.  It drives up cost.  It drives down the numbers you can afford".

NAVSEA should be ashamed.

Captan.joe said...

So now if the brass goes through with this stupid plan, they'll not only lose the LCS's if they get stiff resistance, they'll lose the carrier, too. Smart! The Chinese subs will eat their lunch.

cdrsalamander said...

Editorial note: The first draft of this post was a nightmare with tons of fat-fingered mistakes.   Sorry about that.  Even for my standards that was low.  Note to self - if you only have a few short minutes ... keep it to twitter.  Come back later for the blog.  Eek - that was rough.  Mefixie though ... I think.  Thanks to the emailer for calling me out.

Old NFO said...

Reminds me the decision to buy the F-18.  The Hornet could carry gas or bombs, not both.  During a fairly short Minex mission the Hornet had to tank twice, once off the dedicated KA-6 tanker during the ingress and off the mission A-6's during the egress.  The Intruders never tanked at all.  The A-6's and S-3's were carrying full scale practice mines and the Hornet's had the MK-76 25 lb practice bombs.  Carrying actual weapons it could not hold a candle to the Intruder, it was also far inferior to the Tomcat for fleet defense.  

The Hornet DID have one advantage however, it was reputed to have sub-contractors located in more congressional districts than any other aircraft in history.  The 1985 Constellation cruise was dedicated to a single mission, Make the Hornet look good, talk about lying and cheating!

During the process of getting the Hornet to the fleet literally dozens of Commander's and Captains saw their careers stunted for telling the truth about that aircraft.  Mostly A-7 and F-14 guys.  

The F/A-18 was a POS to start and the Navy has spent billions getting it to be as good as the aircraft it replaced.  Just think how far ahead we would be if they had just gotten better aircraft in the first place.  

simulationist said...

What if that maintenance is NMCM?  I will be very interested to see how we execute a four sortie dusk till dawn flight schedule for more than one or two days with the proposed manning levels.  Will require some creative thinking

ewok40k said...

oh my...  anyone got a bulldozer and flamethrower? they will be needed to clean up this mess...

Byron said...

As I understand it, a *lot* of maintainence will be done by contractors...ISYN. Of course, given the kind of work we've been getting the past 3 years, that seems to be true with the rest of the fleet. Kind of makes you want to cry, don't it?

And for the first active duty that says they do PMS regularly, I know for a FACT that a lot of what we get to fix could have been prevented with PMS.

Tom Mowry said...

A new set of tactics to hunt for submarines...a new platform maybe...please tell me these guys know how to use a Tail...what is a "littoral" ship going to do with a tail in shallow water...the first time they drag that sucker through the muck or snag it on a shallow wreck and lose one will be the last time they use one...no value there...and no way is LCS a replacement for an FFG...I want to see what the LCS looks like after getting hit by two Exocets or an underwater mine...this is a giant pipe dream...everyone has finally taken a drink of  the Kool Ade

Tom Mowry said...

I must say I like the term chicken stuff bath tub toys...LOL...doesn't it tell NAVSEA something when the Coast Guard doesn't want the design

Tom Mowry said...

I hadn't heard carrier escort...I would love to see one of these little beasties try to do plane guard...

Tom Mowry said...

I just have an image of an LCS taking green water over the bow and not coming back up....

Tom Mowry said...

the papers up here in Maine seem to be suggesting that BIW wants to bid to get some work...I am a firm believer in the maxim that Bath built is best built but I don't think even they can save an overall bad design....

G-man said...

Mayport?  Hmmm, home of helos.  Hmmm.  that is an awfully nice practice deck landing qualification they got themselves there.  HSL-40 will be very apprieciative of all that littoral deck time.

sid said...

<span><span>"We see it as a replacement for the FFG class (frigates)," Roughead told the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee.</span></span>
<span>About time somebody got honest about it. The LCS was always destined to be an FF(was G) replacement.</span>
<span>I never had any doubts where this goatrope was headed. </span>
<span>At 419 ft and ~2600 tons the GD design is by any measure-BIG-for a ship that is expected to spend most of its life staying up near the beach. Its appparent that the GD folks have deliberately gone big, but there are some potential problems.
First is the philosophical one of this size ship falling being regarded as frigates by another name. If that happens, then the numbers of hulls necessary to carry out this concept will never get bought. Each hull will grow to be too expensive If that happens it will be buh-bye LCS concept, which more than anything, is based on a large number of available hulls.
</span>
<span>But I suppose that's not as important as the lead contractors getting enough taxpayer money out of the deal so they can build yet another midrise with their logo on it somewhere on 267... </span>
<span>Galrahn's ideas  about the ship are also now very obviously DIW. </span>
<span>G...I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!</span>

Byron said...

Three guys in a skiff with an outboard...one to drive...the other two to shoot the RPGs. Just motor up around midships and start shooting. None of the guns aboard will bear.

Byron said...

A CVNs wake would swamp LCS....

sid said...

<span>This won't be an innovative mothership. Its going to be a very inadequate transitional ship type that will be seen as a monstrous waste of resources.</span>
<span></span>
<span>And will likely get people killed...if not battles lost in the bargain.</span>
<span></span>
<span>An admiral having Freedoms and Independences in his fleet will be sure to put them in the line of battle, where their comparatively light protection would be at a disadvantage</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Old NFO,

Great analogy.  As a fire supporter, I was most chagrined to see the A-6 pass out of service for a markedly inferior and less capable platform.  What would have been the money savings in building new A-6 airframes that incorporated the developments in avionics and engine design instead of pitching a great and proven design because the current inventory was worn?  (The same could be said of the M1911 pistol vs the M9, by the way.)

Similarly, what would have been the savings in building more OHPs or modifications based on new technology and incorporations of lessons learned from the originals?  I know this is crazy talk, but how about having a more capable frigate replace your current frigate?  Instead of this monstrosity being the "solution".

Desert Sailor said...

Tail wet at 40 kts??? WTFO? "Flow noise" anyone? Once again the figure of merit is being driven with that age old component of the equation "DESIRE".  Sadly that math never works.

Byron said...

And from day one when I first read about LCS manning and automated DC this was my first and still is my primary objection. Never mind the other issues, they pale in comparison to the fact that for the first time we have delibaretely placed sailors lives in jeopordy over a revolutionary design that DOES NOT WORK.

Byron said...

I always thought it was dumb as dirt to think the Plastic Bug could ever replace the A-6. The Intruder could fly twice as far unrefueled and carry damn near three times the load. It wasn't fast, it wasn't pretty, but boy could it haul the mail, day or night, rain or shine.

Tom Mowry said...

you are absolutey right...and even better if they target the bridge with some mike mike and the rpg...can you say soft kill anyone

Tom Mowry said...

totally...

Tom Mowry said...

always the big problem with manning...you need more people for condition III and DC then you do condition I...and I still don't believe that they ever took into account real life ship board evolutions like RAS, VERTREPS, flight ops etc...the list goes on...the only reason they are seen as a FFG replacement is they have no other design on the table...iI fear t is going to take some dead sailors though before they admit their mistake...of course it won't be their mistake it will the changing nature of the threat...this just grinds my gears >:o

Navig8r said...

"...<span>where will the loser ships be based?"</span>
<span></span>
<span>Where ever the Coast Guard wants to put them, right after they get the racing stripe on the hull.</span>

ewok40k said...

want to relace a frigate, build a frigate!
like, well, certain Danish one...

sid said...

Can someone please explain to me how it makes sense to keep a semi-planing hull that will be too heavy to get on a step...and is otherwisew saddled with tactical imperitaves that will keep it slow anyway?

And whats the sense of expecting an aluminum trimaran -which has already experienced structural issues with the transverse beams under its flight deck- to fill in as a full fledged ship of the line?

sid said...

<span>A CVNs wake would swamp LCS....</span>
<span></span>
<span>The Freedom's wake is about its most fearsome feature...</span>
<span></span>
<span></span>
<span>
</span>

<span></span>
<span></span>

Three men stranded on Pilot Island by Freedom ship

<span>8/11 - Washington Island, WI - Three Washington Island men were stranded on nearby Pilot Island, Sunday, when their small boat was put on the rocks, cracking her hull, by the wake from the USS Freedom.
Eric Greenfeldt, Mike Carr and Butch Jess, members of the Friends of Plum and Pilot Island, were on Pilot Island checking the buildings Sunday, when the new USS Freedom went by on her sea trials. The 22-foot boat that the men had used to reach the island, broke three
<span>lines</span> that had held the small boat fast, and the boat was washed up on the rocky shore by the wake created by the new vessel.
Fortunately the owner, who was aboard, was unharmed, although shaken up. The boat was later removed and taken to Washington Island, where it is believed to be a total loss. The men had a cell phone and were able to contact someone to come pick them up.
Washington Island residents have reported a wake as high as eight-feet when the vessel passes. One other story circulating on Washington Island is that several fisherman have been swamped off Rock Island by the same wake.
</span>
<span></span>
<span>Nice bit of seamanship there fellas and ladies.</span>

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I have the same nightmare

sid said...

...what is a "littoral" ship going to do with a tail in shallow water...the first time they drag that sucker through the muck or snag it on a shallow wreck and lose one will be the last time they use one...

In the offshore seismic biz, there used to be a technique employed called "Backdown-Drag".

A back-down drag cable operation is one where the boat moves slightly beyond the shotpoint location, then "backs down" until the cable is resting on the sea bottom. When done properly, the boat will stop at the proper shot location. More energy is recorded this way than with a conventional streamer, plus movement of the boat and cable during shooting is minimized, improving resolution and allowing multiple pops per shotpoint to be summed for signal enhancement without smearing the character of the data.

Lemme tell yah, it was a real trick figuring out the set and drift, along with  whatever the cable was deciding to do, to get good shots. Also, you couldn't get through the survey without tearing up the cable several times over.

Backdown-Drag was abandoned in favor of "bay cable" ops aka OBC...which was quite similar in concept to the abortive ADS the LCS was supposed to carry.

sid said...

Lemme tell yah, it was a real trick figuring out the set and drift

And advance and transfer as well.

It was all by "seaman's eye"

Tom Mowry said...

sounds interesting...but if I remember correctly one of the cardinal sins of tail ops was backing down with the tail deployed...fear of snagging the tow cable in the prop...also one of the biggest benefits of the tail was being able to get below the layer and get in the same water propagation wise as the target...in shallow water this is negated by several acoustic effects that make for some dirty water and poor acoustics...I am assuming also that they are chasing diesal boats in the littorals...I would much rather have an active sonar in those conditions but I would be interested to see what a tail would be able to do if it could be settled on the bottom...something to ponder... *DONT_KNOW*

Tom Mowry said...

Not to pile on to the LCS but I don't seem to see any RAST gear...correct me if I am wrong but with out it how are they planning on moving the bird in and out of the hanger...

AW1 Tim said...

  Agree with Bath-Built. I'm not so certain BIW wants to get into the LCS construction, though. I garner that strictly from overhearing conversations at Byrne's and the Kennebec Tavern between suits who work there.  I think that, with BIW being owned by GD, that GD is trying to position itself to flow wherever the next build is going to be. Certainly, it's going to have it's hands full building more '51's over the next few years.

  It has been my experience, though, that the PPH and other rags in Maine tend to publish what BIW wants published, and not a whole lot more.

   Respects,

AW1 Tim said...

 And it seems to me that in the littorals, you run the risk of snagging on nets, wrecks, uncharted ledges, and other artifacts just laying in wait for some unsuspecting, innocent cable to come drifting by.  :)

 I agree with Tom about active sonar, although a hull-mounted passive suite would be useful in the layer too. I think that towed-arrays are fine in blue-water ops, but in close, I'm not yet convinced of their usefulness without hyper-accurate charts.

AW1 Tim said...

Good point, Tom. The RAST gear is also important, for those unfamiliar with it, in getting a helo aboard in rough weather and pitching decks.  Lots of fun for all concerned.

Tom Mowry said...

totally agree, I figured that they were hedging their bets with this one, I think it may depend on how the Navy decides to source out the 51s, you are right on with PPH, not a lot of journalism there, they tend copy and paste statements from PR reps...

Respects

sid said...

Much like seismic OBC, my understanding was the ADS was (is?) to be a bi/multistatic operation.

As for backing down on the BD cable...we were only moving just fast enough to get the cable off the bottom before setting it again. The cable had extra thick skin, and had chain ballast. Thats much different stuff from streamer cable

To your point though, backing down on a streamer "tail" (tail technology came from the seis world) is a sure fire way to enjoy a real hairball.  Or, for that matter going DIW.

I still wonder what kinda mess this was....

sid said...

Good pic here...

sid said...

Then there was the time our gun array nearly yanked the pipe out of the hole the makeover barge was laying in Lake Maracaibo...

The mate didn't see their anchor buoy until it was too late =-O


If the USN wants to go down this road, the seis survey biz has been doing it for decades in some of the palces the LCS may be called upon to fight someday.  Wanna know about salinity and currents off the Orinoco, or what underwater nav is like in the Serpent's Mouth?

Been there. Done it. Have the t shirt.


The USN should gain some good knowldege from that industry about operating such systems in places like this.

And just hanging a little with Chouest doesn't count....

Tom Mowry said...

now that would be an advancement for the surface navy...a conformal array or something similiar for a surface ship...LCS would sink from the associated weight of the big active sonars that we have now and the squeaky 56 on the FFG's has a limited passive capability...towed arrays can be problematic enough in deep water (USS Moinester put her SQQ 35 and 18 tail into an uncharted seamount back in the 80's) definitely deep water needed...

Tom Mowry said...

Maybe they should call a CSBT class I kind of like the sound of that...

Tom Mowry said...

that looks like a fine navy day

sid said...

I wanna see the equipment for a tail that can handle that rooster tail...

leesea said...

<span><span>Please note this homeporting is not soon! <span>"beginning in 2016"  <span>and apparently tied to the decommissioning of the Perrys!  This like the CVN homeporting are what I call "out year" fictions.  Anyone who has been in/around DC knows that ANY plan beyond the FYDP is fictional.
</span></span></span></span>

leesea said...

sid it very right, this idea that a littoral ship somehow becomes a blue water frigate is a shell game trick.  And OBW the LCS-1 weight numbers are worse!

I believe that LCS-2 has some form of helo tugging system can't get details??

WE should not be comparing tonnage of dynamically supported hulls with displacement hulls, we need to focus on payloads  there is a world of difference.

What is even more scary is that the current RFP puts more weight on production costs than it does on technical merit.  Could the Navy buy a cheaper "sinker" vice a more expensive & fuel efficient hull - you betcha!

I have heard more than one naval officer say oh LCS-1 just "looks right"  hogwash

leesea said...

Is there any way to be more positive about the LCS?  Can this "box" be changed to do other missions as Bob Work suggests?  Has anyone seen a ROC/POE for current designs?  Can more and/or permanent weapons and sensors be installed to make things better?

Is this just wishful thinking?  I dunno, but I do KNOW that the LCS is the POR whether we like it or not!

Byron said...

That's funny...every one of us yardbirds that got more than 10 minutes to look around Freedom have an entirely different opinion...and we're not "professional navy officers"...we just fix someone else's mistake (can you say, "aluminum superstructures"?)

C-dore 14 said...

Tom, Just the story I was thinking about, although don't believe that the seamount was "uncharted".  Her CO, who previously had a strong reputation in the surface ASW community never went on to major command.  When we used to have the array deployed I used to close my Night Orders out with something like "Remember, the ship's draft is now X00 feet".

C-dore 14 said...

Don't know AW1...those 1040s, 1052s, and FFG 1s were able to do it without any RAST.  Of course the SH-2 was just a bit lighter. ;)

C-dore 14 said...

Not to beat a dead horse but let me tell you from experience how well that whole "send the helo over to the CVN for maintenance theory" will work in practice.  

Tom Mowry said...

that is answer, one of the reasons for rast was weight of the helo, she is a beast to handle by hand :)

Tom Mowry said...

Plus LAMPS I would have to get out of the hanger.....................

Tom Mowry said...

say it ain't so....No way is an understatement...you can reach a 250 hour maintenace period in just two to three weeks of intensive ops...on a busy deployment you have to figure on at least one 1000 hour maintenance period...and then the PMCFs that follow or strobing the blades....arghhh...the thought of having the bird go to the carrier, cluster waiting to happen

C-dore 14 said...

It really boils down to a matter of priorities on the CVN and within the Air Wing.  The only time I saw a high priority given to non-organic helos was when somebody of sufficient horsepower (such as the BG CDR, the N3, or the DESRON CDR) was pushing the issue.  Foresee big problems for the routine stuff.

C-dore 14 said...

Interestingly RAST provided some tactical advantages over the FF's manual transfer system.  Because RAST enables you to move the aircraft in higher sea states you don't become as fixated on having a stable deck like you did on the FFs, thus less maneuvering and time lost waiting for the array to stabilize.

Tom Mowry said...

makes sense...I would imagine the same thing would be true for spare parts etc...it can be hard enough maintianing the team relationship that is needed for an  effective ship/helo team as it is...if they go away......out of sight out of mind.....

Byron said...

And if you do, and you're an East Coast helo bubba, you'll get one of my son-in-law The Ugly Chiefs engines. I'll send you a picture one day, he's a REAL Chief ;)

theguest said...

The loser LCS design is going to be sold to another country.  Otherwise known as Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi's have been interested in LCS-2.  They'll be able to get a deal on 2 already built ships.

Tom Mowry said...

LOL...those would have been good night orders to sign...a CO with a sense of humor is hard to find...was it the unfortunate micky mo who also  got her tale wrapped in a victor which ended up on the cover of time...I will have to see if I can find that

Tom Mowry said...

if anyone is still following this thread

now you guys have me thinking about ASW in the littorals and ASW in general, so I had to go into the way back machine for this one, my first ship DDG 995 had a sonobouy tuner, I don't know why but I know we did, it may have been an unofficial/unauthorized ship alt for all I know but we did, I believe we could only process LOFAR data, so anyway we tried on a number of occassions to deploy bouys from the ship, we would do this and then plot them on the DRT, okay here was the problems VHF los limited range and made it difficult to differentiate between self noise and target noise, so we ended up using it mostly for sonar self noise assesments, it was handy for that, so fast forward a few years and we have the 89 system, we know what that can do, so here is my concept

create a new sonobouy that has a life of say 72 to 96 hours or more, install a GPS chip for tracking, in the littorals the bouys could actually anchor themselves like a mine, so now instead of a mine field we have a bout field, alright now we need  and width and a UAV that can stay aloft for many hours to act as a relay, it could even be a diragable sort of thing for this, unmanned and cheap may be better, now we just need bandwith and processing power, and we can monitor a lot of bouys at a distance, the new processing system could even have an automatic override so that if a signal is detected in the target band we get an alert of a possible target, this should all be available from current technology, feel free to use it but if you make a profit give me half a percent or rescue me from passport ajudication at the State Department