Step 2: Try. Not. To. Make. Personal. Attacks.
Check state of shipbuilding budget and warfighting requirements.
Repeat steps 1 & 2.
OK - Press Release time.
The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal USA each a fixed-price incentive contract for the design and construction of a 10 ship block-buy, for a total of 20 littoral combat ships from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2015.OK; calm.
The amount awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp. for fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $436,852,639. The amount awarded to Austal USA for the fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $432,069,883. Both contracts also include line items for nine additional ships, subject to Congressional appropriation of each year’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program requirements. When all 10 ships of each block buy are awarded, the value of the ship construction portion of the two contracts would be $3,620,625,192 for Lockheed Martin Corp., and $3,518,156,851 for Austal USA. The average cost of both variants including government-furnished equipment and margin for potential cost growth across the five year period is $440 million per ship.
No mention of mission module cost; combat systems integration; NLOS; ASW NMC toy boats; survivability; manning; endurance; habitability etc. Shiny happy people happy talk.
All is well.
Assume lotus position.
Strike bells and gong three times; spin Mani.
Quoteth el jefe;
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead praised the Navy’s plan to add both ship designs to the fleet: “The LCS is uniquely designed to win against 21st century threats in coastal waters posed by increasingly capable submarines, mines and swarming small craft. Both designs provide the capabilities our Navy needs, and each offers unique features that will provide fleet commanders with a high level of flexibility in employing these ships.”Cleansing breath.
Consult Proverbs 26:11.
1. What is unique about a large Corvette, a design and mission well over a century old?
2. What can it do with an ASW mission module that cannot support anything but itself in only the most calm and permissive waters?
3. MIW mission module. Really? That well developed, eh?
4. Swarming small craft? Should be able to hold its own as long as the 57mm and 30mm fully function with the combat systems ... but really - is that what we are buying for our shipbuilding buck?
5. Fleet Commander Flexibility. OK. C5F has four LCS with MIW mods in area X. History happens and they find themselves about 1 hr from needing to conduct ASUW; but C5F needs half of them to search for submarines 800KM away. How is that Mission Module swap out logistics and maintenance support looking?
One thing you will hear discussed on a regular basis will be the cost per unit in this announcement. This is what gets me twitchy the most as that is a stripped down LCS with no mission modules. Just the baseline model. It is like buying a baseline car with no radio, no AC, etc. You cannot compare per unit or per ton cost of LCS with FFG and DD/DDG that already are configured for full multi-mission operation, vice the uni-mission LCS. Remember, the quote does not represent the per unit cost even close. Even if it did - the tactical utility of the whole class is still snake bit.
Inside DC, there is a love of programatics and number games where costs are fudged and victory is seen as getting a check in the block with money attached - that is their battlefield. That is not why you have shipbuilding programs though. The goal of shipbuilding is to produce the best tradeoff between cost and capability and to give to the Sailors at sea the best ability to operate, fight, win, and survive in war at sea and power projection ashore.
That is the measure. By that measure, LCS continues to be a rolling disgrace.
I like what the GAO says; very Salamanderesque circa 2006 - but better late than never I guess:
To safeguard against excess quantities of ships and mission packages being purchased before their combined capabilities are demonstrated, we recommended in our August 2010 report that the Secretary of Defense update the LCS acquisition strategy to account for operational testing delays in the program and resequence planned purchases of ships and mission packages, as appropriate. The Department of Defense agreed with this recommendation, stating that an updated schedule was under development to better align seaframe and mission module production milestones. However, it is unclear how the department’s concurrence with our recommendation can be reconciled against the Navy’s current request to increase the planned seaframe commitment, particularly since no operational testing involving mission packages—or any of their individual systems—has since taken place. Until mission package and operational testing progresses—and key mine countermeasures, surface warfare, and antisubmarine warfare systems are proven effective and suitable onboard seaframes—the Navy cannot be certain that the LCS will deliver the full capability desired. This risk would increase with a commitment to higher quantities. The Navy believes this increased commitment is appropriately balanced against competing risks in the program.Read the whole thing here.
... our analysis shows that developmental delays to individual systems have caused all of the LCS mission packages—mine countermeasures, surface warfare, and antisubmarine warfare—to experience test disruptions and procurement delays. In fact, none of the mission packages—either in partial or full configuration—has completed operational testing onboard an LCS seaframe.
1. Take deep breaths.
In the end, the Navy will have a Corvette that will be able to contribute. How much and at what opportunity cost; well I think we know that. Talk to Fleet Commanders and N3s and ask them what they would rather have - 4 LCS of Mission Module of unknown type and quality, or 4 ABSALON/NANSEN/DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN with American crews.
My nogg'n nogg'l's.