Tuesday, November 09, 2010

LPD-17; “not effective, suitable and not survivable in a combat situation,”

Duh ...

The whole world owes me LOTS of beer ... we were warning about this Tiffany China Doll since before she was even commissioned.

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s $1.68 billion amphibious warship, designed to transport Marines close to shore, wouldn’t be effective in combat and couldn’t operate reliably after being hit by enemy fire, according to the Department of Defense’s top testing official.

The San Antonio-class vessel’s critical systems, such as electrical distribution, ship-wide fiber optics and voice- communications networks, aren’t reliable, according to Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation. The ship’s armaments can’t effectively defend against the most modern anti-ship weapons, Gilmore said.

The ship is capable of operating “in a benign environment,” Gilmore said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News outlining the unclassified summary of a classified report sent to Congress in June. The vessel is “not effective, suitable and not survivable in a combat situation,” he said.
The epic fail of a "stealth" Amphib with titanium fire mains is a poster child for the results when non-warfare accountants designing warships instead of warfighters.

Why can't we get our Amphibs near shore? Simple - we are more focused on programatics and PPT and non-warfare metrics. We get an Amphib Fleet fine for peace, but ill-suited for war.

The math works this way; if you have many ships taking fewer per-ship Marines in harm's way, you can sustain a few combat losses - losses that always occur - and still get enough Marines and materiel ashore to make mission.

Sure, it can take a little more money to maintain more, smaller ships in peace - but we don't make ships for peace, do we?

Problem is - if you decide, which we have, to build fewer ships to carry many more Marines and material per-ship because it makes peace-time green eye-shade types happy, then you simply cannot afford ANY combat losses as one ship sunk means you cannot make mission.

To mitigate that risk, you move them further and further away from danger. Shore is danger. You force the Marines to make the trip across more and more water. 20nm or more and by the time your Marines make it ashore - what kind of shape will they be in? What additional dangers will they be in?

When you mitigate one cost - you increase another. To protect the Tiffany Amphibs, you need larger and faster transport to shore - read the EFV and MV-22. Add it up. Go through a few more cycles and before you know it - you literally cannot afford the mission.

Second and Third Order Effects - we pound it into heads when teaching the Operational Art - yet we forget to do it when we design our fleets. Spreadsheets are not good for 2nd and 3rd Order Effects. Those cost slides are either deleted or put into back-up slide areas. If you don't have warfighters pounding the tables, then you get what you get.

War is messy. I will say it again; DDG-1000, LCS, LPD-17; the Tiffany Navy we cannot afford. Designed for peace and concept papers, not war. Theorists and developmental engineers love them - future graveyards for Sailors. The poster children for the lost decade - one we will eventually have to deal with as an institution more seriously than just re-opening the DDG-51 line.

37 comments:

Byron said...

I'm too tired and simply don't feel well enough to go into full rant mode on this. Instead, I'll leave it at this:

WE TOLD YOU SO, YOU BLITHERING IDIOTS

AW1 Tim said...

Thing is, our logistics system is no different. LPD-17 is, to my mind, pretty much the poster child of our current Navy.

 Sooner or later, we'll be tasked to use our Navy, and there won't be enough of it, not a big enough tail to support what we have.

 Taking over civilian Health Care Systems is NOT a Constitutional mandate. Providing for the Common Defense is. 

 Our political leadership continues to play policial games with budgets, and providing bread and circuses while neglecting is primary duty. Meanwhile, there's a very large tiger pacing back and forth and casting it's gaze towards us on a pretty regular basis.

LT B said...

You are missing the point Phib.  We are building not one, but two LCS types and they are uber fast.  They can intercept all incoming fire and absorb it because they are so battle hardened. 

On a positive note, all the Sailors we send to Davy Jones will be of the proper racial and gender make up.  So at least we are killing our own people in a diverse manner.  We won't equip and train them to fight, so at least we got that going for us. 

We have lost the bubble.  It saddens me.

ewok40k said...

How would LPD-17 fare at falklands?
I know the pic says it all

Reverb said...

This is (dead horse moving slightly with each new kick) one more in a series of symptoms of intellectual malaise in the Navy.  Hate to say it, but for a tangible example, look no further that at the Navy's Warfare Development Command.  It is run by a reesrve Flag officer (not to cherry pick, but shouldn't the leader of the Navy's intellectual capital for warfighting have SOME operational experience??) and an "Information Professional" Chief of Staff - and its self-touted Concepts division was, until recently, run by a reserve O-6 and a GS-15 whose last operational/uniformed tour was almost 20 years ago.  The Concepts team has produced nothing but powerpoint encapsulations of common sense and extant doctrine in their two years of existence.   There is no "there, there".   NWDC is rife with those "freeze dried Lieutenants...well intentioned, smart and dedicated people with nary a clue as to how to conduct Naval operations in 2010, but there can be little doubt as to why critical thinking has atrophied once you leave the waterfront/flightline.

Retired VADM Konetzni once wrote, and spoke, about how intellectual arguments will always carry the day.  Sadly, for the Navy and the Nation, that particular capability has been metricized out of the service.

SoCal 91 said...

LPD = Large Plastic Duck.

They may be Big,  but they're Slow !

:)

Grandpa Bluewater said...

I know the Bass line for Byron's baritone lead on that song, maybe URR could be a nice Irish Tenor.  Anybody care to take the fourth for a little 4 part harmony?

" We told you so,"

"You blither ing id iots."

"For twenty years and more.".....

I could come up with a few dozen stanzas of lyrics. Anybody know a good traditional tune?

LT B said...

Intellectual arguments take honesty and self analysis.  We have neither in the Navy.  Wrong focus, wrong metrics, and a total lack of desire to ask the tough questions for fear of getting tough answers. 

SoCal 91 said...

LPD 17 Class has 2 of these slow beasts here in Southern California.  Worked on both.  INport and underway.

Amazing to just walk around passageways whenever a high speed run is made.  You hear these loud banging sounds coming from inside some bulkheads.   As you investigate, you discover that the bulkhead is permanently covered and you cannot look inside to find the exact cause of the noisy thumping.    Turns out that New Orleans shipyard did not utilize enough pipe hangers, spaced at certain required intervals and this is the case all over both 18 and 20 (Green Bay and NewOrleans).    Fortunately, these two LPD's don't attempt highest speeds very often.  That would require being able to run all 4 main propulsion engines simultaneously.    Rarely can either of these new ships have more than one diesel engine working online per shaft.   Result is that during normal uw ops,   these big new amphibious ships are extremely slow and handle poorly even in moderate winds and moderate seas with only 1 diesel engine lit off per shaft.     I"ve read various reviews about how fast these new LPD's are and how responsive they are to handle.   They have real trouble making a tight circle or turning into a stiff breeze with only 2 of their main engines online (one per shaft).     BTW both of these new ships have had extensive rebuilding repairs to all their diesel engines which have been badly damaged by bad lubricating oil.

LPD-17 class:  big, slow, and unreliable.    I noticed that the owner of AVondale shipyard who built both of these beasts, is being shuttered,  by Nortrupgrumman shipyard who owns them.   Please, hurry.

Andy said...

Can't wait to watch the blistering Congressional hearings on C-SPAN, in both Houses of Congress, when knowledgable, informed and very ticked off Congresscritters tell all the Brass to put their PowerPoints and previously prepared "statements" aside and start asking tough questions and expecting answers, under oath, under penalty of perjury.

And while I'm waiting, I think I'll stroll over and watch hell freeze over.

Capt Joe said...

There's gotta be some tight sphincters in the Naval area of the Pentagon since the unannounced missile launch, apparently from a submarine, off California last night. Was it a Chinese or Russian missile? Was it Iranian? Was it a US missile? Is this a game of Chicken?

Byron said...

Gotta be a good drinking song, Grandpa ;)

xbradtc said...

How is it the Navy and industry can run medium speed diesels for damn near 30 years, and yet LPD17 can't?

Anonymous said...

Ya know, one of those newbie incoming Tea party supported congress types could sure make a name for themselves by poking their nose around the Navy's shipbuilding program.  I keep harking back to the time seemingly so long ago when I was a flag aide peon to ComNavSea.  he had a sign on his desk that read "DIRTFT" - which we all called the Dirty Feet Doctrine.  DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.  The good VADM said you wouldn't get a second chance in war, that you had to dance with the one you brought.  This is a sad requiem for Navy engineering.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span> This is a sad requiem for Navy engineering."</span>

Excellent comment.  I would use the "like" feature if it didn't boot me outta here.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Because we're TRANSFORMATIONAL!

xbradtc said...

URR, you're the end user, what would you like to see? I mean, aside from engines that work?

Salty Gator said...

Dear God Almighty, don't ask the Marines.  Whenever we ask them what their requirements are, they only answer "more."  They will never stick to a number, because God Forbid you meet that number, they won't be able to say "more."

Salty Gator said...

SoCal, LPD's serve more purpose than to just be a target.  You may have worked on one or two, but do you know what their CONOPS is?

Perry said...

AW1's comment ("<span>Taking over civilian Health Care Systems is NOT a Constitutional mandate. Providing for the Common Defense is. ") implies that this is a Congressional problem, and one that might be construed to imply that passing health care legislation somehow negatively affected the Navy shipbuilding situation.  Other than approving the 3- and 4- stars who got us here over the last two plus decades, it would be hard to place the majority of the blame on them.  Congress can be blamed for not properly performing their oversight </span><span><span>responsibilities for two decades, but before them I think you've got to blame the Navy brass (first and foremost) and, in order of culpability, the Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama administrations.</span></span>

Don't get me wrong - I'm no fan of Congress, and really hate the health care plan.  However, if we start blaming everything on that, we're no worse than liberals who blame everything on Bush, and we lose the high ground in the area, as another poster mentioned, the intellectual argument. 

Salty Gator said...

LPD-17.....this ship class eats more of my time than anything else I work on.  Are you looking for a list of folks to call before the green table?  I have a few ideas...
1) CJCS Mullen (then N76)
2) Former CNO Clark
3) ASN RDA (Stackley) [then program manager]

I can go on, naming name after name.  these folks are still in the game, sitting now as Flags or as highly paid consultants.  They now cast stones at everyone from the seamen standing the watch to the action officers trying to un-fuck the programatics.  It's all someone else's fault.

pk said...

hey B:

refresh my memory,

just why did they want to put titanium firemains in these beasts.
the old steel and copper nickle mains did just fine and the fish and
barnacle population thought they were a pretty good place to live also.

C

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Dear God Almighty, we got into this sh*t sandwich because nobody asked the Marines.  Or haven't you figured that out?

Scott B. said...

<span>When the current Under Secnav suggests the LPD-17 lemon should be used as the basis for almost everything (LSD(X), Command Ship, Hospital Ship, BMD cruiser, NSFS platform, ...), is this something to be worried about ?</span>

Byron said...

Because an aircraft company and Avondale Shipyard built this piece of shi'ite?

Byron said...

Because it cost the taxpayers a ton of money and made NG a boatload of money? The same could have been accomplished using 316 stainless steel and it would have outlasted the rest of the ship...even if it had been built correctly.

Anonymous said...

large machinery has a critical speed above which it takes a cast iron sh%%t.

it usually has a second critical below which it can run forever, but on the modern stuff if you go 2-3% above it it dosen't last long.

if the thing (like emd diesels) has been built for a period of time these speeds are well known.

contractors put engines to small (cheaper)in the boat to get the contract, betting that they would run long enough on the overloads to get the navy to sign off on them. then when invietably the engines would take a dump the ship builder would kick it back to the engine builder (who probably would have been bought out 14 times since) and the engine builder would return with sorry charlie me no savvy *****.

of course lube oil purifiers, filters,...... and their liberal use, make a trememdous difference.

if the builder installs one pipe to remove and return the lube oil for the trip back to the purifiers and storage tanks during the purifing evoloution then the dirt drops out in the first few feet of pipe on the trip to the purifier and the oil picks it back up when being returned to the engine, and no matter how often the snipes purify the oil its still dirty. a couple of classes of the 1200#ers had very bad problems with this and it all traced back to the builders.  they gotta have two lines to/from the purifier. one for dirty and the other for clean oil and thats for everything, generators, turbines, reduction gearing, foreced draft blowers. main feed pumps the whole bananananana.



Salty Gator said...

this means that he is getting horrible gouge from people who were involved in the f-up and still part of the problem, not the solution.

ewok40k said...

One good missile hit (hello mr Sunburn!)or torpedo (hell miss Kilo!) away from losing lots of  marines, oh and all their equipment... When in WW2 LSM went down there was a company sized loss. terrible, but not devastating. One LPD sunk might carry enough of a brigade combat team to make entire landing impossible. Maybe not all, but definitely too many eggs in one basket. Enemy sinks 2, and it is landing cancelled.

xbradtc said...

Yeah, I was thinking that if you're going to multipurpose a hull, LSD-41 would make a lot more sense. It works, it's proven, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper.

sid said...

Commodore Clapp was well aware of the vulnerabilities of his STUFT ships there in San Carlos Water and intentionally anchored them at depths...that if they were sunk...there was at least a shot at salvage.

Of course, none of the Brits anticipated this. One more major loss of their few big -CIVIL- hulls, and they wouldhave had to go home....

And those Islands would be the Malvinas on every map today.

As it was, they still took significant landing force losses which hampered them greatly...

Again, on civilian crewed ships not built to take the inevitable punishment.


What is the latest on the recently floated idea (reminiscent of something not barely worth lying in a toilet bowl)  in Navy Times to outsource the entire amphib fleet anyway?

The 2010 USN...

WE ARE TOO GOOD TO FIGHT!

And, for those N-Squared types who believe that ABS standards -or watered down NVR crap- makes good sense would do well to take a VERY close look at this pic.

Just how many images like that will you be able to "AFFORD"?

sid said...

Looks like we are setting up our future ship to shore movements to look like this...

Anonymous said...

no.  LSD 41/49 has no interoperability capability...no LINK 11, no LINK 16.  plus no room for growth.  The Kg (center gravity) is already way over budget, and the Marines are clamoring for more vehicle square and vehicle cube.  Neigh, I hate to say this, but it is back to the drawing board.  But this time, let's keep it simple.  Cummings diesels, traditional configuration, non-optimal manning, standard combat system  (CVN style).

Anonymous said...

URR, please.  They loved the ship and still do, except for the fact that it can't get underway.  The ship provides more vehicle square and cube.  Let's take a look at history and when we asked marines about what they want, and what we end up with:
DDX
LHA 6 without a well deck to support JSF (F-35 Carrier)
LHA 7 same
LHA 8 REDESIGN because it doesn't have a well deck

ASWOJoe said...

Remember being across the pier from then PCU SAN ANTONIO while we were at NGSS West Bank after she got towed in from Avondale and hearing what a clusterf*ck she was.  Some months later watching her steam into NOB our (ancient) MPA remarked that it was amazing she made it all the way to Norfolk on her own power.  Doesn't seem like much has changed. 

LT Rusty said...

I'm thinking 'Black Velvet Band' would be a good one.  Or possibly 'F**k the British Army.'

Anonymous said...

This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

Feel free to visit my weblog - pozycjonowanie