The GAO just provided a gift the other day to critics of LCS, but are often told something to the effect, "Don't quote me something you heard off some blog - that isn't reliable ... " - well, you know how that goes.
If you need to, send them the links to DefenseTech and Rueters with this summary,
One of the primary missions of the LCS is to act as a screen for larger fleet ships, fending off small boat swarms in coastal waterways. The standard package for that mission is the Surface Warfare module (SUW), which includes a 30mm cannon and the NLOS-LSBetter yet, read the whole GAO report here - is has a lot about more than just LCS.
GAO says the launcher was tested last summer, but failed due to a malfunctioning sensor and battery connector. The Navy expects delivery of another SUW package this year, this time with the launcher, but minus the missiles. As we noted in our previous write up, Army officials told us they think the missile’s targeting problems are pretty serious ones, considering how far along the NLOS-LS is in development. They’ve hinted they may look at a low cost alternative to the NLOS-LS.
Yet, the Navy is going ahead with delivery of the launcher. Why is the Navy taking delivery of a problematic launcher to fit in a mission module for an unproven missile? I’m guessing they’ve already sized the module for the NLOS-LS and at this stage it may be tool late to redesign it for another launcher without incurring serious costs. Absent a functioning SUW package, the LCS is not mission capable for its primary function as a small surface combatant.
GAO said the total cost of the LCS program so far, including research and development as well as procurement funding, was $5.1 billion, nearly 300 percent more than the $1.3 billion cost projected in 2004.
It said the unit cost per ship was $730 million, up from $331 million in 2004, but analysts said that included the first ship of each design, which generally cost more to produce.
GAO said the Navy was conducting dynamic load testing of Lockheed's LCS-1 ship, but integration with the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle was not due to happen before the ship's so-called shakedown cruise, although it is a "physically stressing system to launch and recover."
For LCS 2, testing of the crane used to launch and recover smaller boats "revealed performance and reliability concerns that were not fully addressed prior to installation."
Lockheed spokeswoman Kim Martinez said the company's first LCS ship, the USS Freedom, had successfully completed its small boat launch and recovery tests, and had used the capability during Freedom's current deployment to catch drug traffickers.
GAO said the main propulsion diesel engines on the General Dynamics ship had not completed a required endurance test due to corrosion in the engines' intake valves, which had to be replaced so the ship could complete acceptance trials.
The General Dynamics ship had also experienced pitting and corrosion in its waterjet tunnels, an issue that the Navy has temporarily fixed, but which will require welding work during a future dry dock availability, GAO said.
Design changes were also made to the General Dynamics ship to address the corrosion and pitting in its waterjet tunnels by isolating the propulsion shafts from the waterjets, GAO said.
General Dynamics spokesman Rob Doolittle said issues sometimes arose during construction of the first ship of any class, but the company and the Navy had already addressed the concerns raised in the GAO report.
The GAO report also noted previously reported concerns about the stability of Lockheed's ship if critically damaged, but said the Navy had added external tanks to the rear of the ship to allow it to meet the damage stability requirement.
The design for Lockheed's second ship was also modified to lengthen its transom by four meters to improve stability.
Do I need to add that you read it here first a few years ago? Naw ... that would be just rubb'n it in.
If you don't like reading clear, direct, fact-based discussion about LCS - you can always soak in stuff like this instead.