Monday, July 02, 2012

LCS Manning Goes Salamander

Of course, we knew this was going to be the case in the middle of last decade, but who listened to us, history, reality, or other things when, "all is new!?!" Eleventy!!

As reported by Chris Cavas;
Years after sailors and planners realized the crew size of littoral combat ships was too small, the U.S. Navy has decided to increase the number of sailors on the ships.

The changes will be made on the first LCS, the Freedom, starting in July — in time to beef up the crews for next year’s 10-month deployment to Singapore.

Twenty additional berths will be permanently installed onboard Freedom — two for officers, two for chief petty officers and 16 for other enlisted — but the final manning plan has yet to be decided,
... but it is good that we are doing this now and not after a real deployment brought about crew fatigue that results in a grounding or worse - or we embarrass ourselves by pulling in to a foreign port with a dirty, nasty ship. Of course, we still are in danger of that - but today perhaps less.
The added billets “will run the gamut, from support to engineering to operations to boatswain’s mates,” Rowden said. “We’ve got to get the right skill set and the right seniority.”
Yes ... decades of modern manning requirements told us the number was wrong from the beginning, but happy talk & toxic command climates - standard gruel of the transformationalists - killed any of this while the program was still early enough to make it beck.

More to follow, I'm sure.

UPDATE: Phil is in rare form, and shows us again that LCS is the gift that keeps on giving (for us at least).

Starting with Chris's article above - Phil teases a set-up;
As for LCS, earlier this year we heard Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work mock critics who worried about the ships’ small crews. “We’re not stupid — we’ll make that damn change if we need to,” he said. Work and other naval leaders have invoked the early years of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, when the Navy had to add sailors to those ships after discovering their initial crews were too small.

But unlike the figs, LCS hasn’t even done a real deployment yet.
... and then from the top-rope!
Rather than a warship program, LCS is a free-form, never-ending jam session that often seems to surprise its performers as much as it does the audience. Anything can happen! We don’t know where this crazy groove is going to take us, maaan!

The only thing that’s clear is the crunchy jams are taking LCS away from its original vision, in which ultra squared-away super sailors did five jobs apiece, but had plenty of help from automation and were rewarded with the fleet’s most luxurious accommodations. The Navy has never been able to make that work, starting with the “berthing modules” the Freedom and its cousin USS Independence both have to take to sea to handle all the extra sailors and passengers. While some sailors get their own double-sized racks, private heads and other perks, the unlucky riders must sleep in converted cargo containers lashed to the deck, with their personal gear piled in mounds all over the place.

It is what it is — nobody joins the Navy for the luxury. But adding more racks and cramming in more sailors is the latest example of LCS being unable to deliver on a key promise, and it’s especially telling that the Navy has decided to make that concession even before its first ship makes its first major voyage.

Hat tip HR.

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