Monday, October 10, 2011

I think this is more what they had in mind ...

It is always useful after a few dozen spin cycles to go to the beginning and rebaseline the argument.

Remember what LCS was supposed to be a dozen years ago?
As of mid-2001 the Office of Naval Research was considering construction of a Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons. The LCS would have a draft of about three meters (9 feet), an operational range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 50-60 knots.
Remember the original promise about LCS? We all know what happened when the transformationalists got hold of it. Imagine if we had a leadership that instead were students of the last few hundred years of shipbuilding - and specifically understood the usefullness of understanding the lessons of cruiser development in the '20-30s and guided missile development in the '50s-60s. Evolution, not revolution.

Where do you think they might have started to look at a place to "evolve" and existing concept?

Mostly using our friend Eric's Naval Institute Guide to COMBAT FLEETS OF THE WORLD, 15th Edition, BTW, to see what I could dig up.

Sure it sounds funny - but the answers were all American, right in front of our face; the Saudi:

BADR Class Corvettes: (ex-PCG, 4-ships built in Tacoma, Wash starting in 1979) and AS SIDDIQ (ex-PGG, 9 ships built in Sturgeon Bay, WI starting in 1978).
- Displacement; 1,038 tons
- Length; 245'
- Draft; 8'9"
- Speed; 30kts
- Range; 4,000 nm @ 20kts
- Manning; 7 officers, 51 enlisted
- Armament:
-- 8 Harpoon
-- 1 76-mm/62.
-- 1 CIWS
-- 2 20-mm/40 Oerlikon
-- 1 88mm mortar
-- 2 40mm MK19 grenade launchers.
-- 6 ASW torpedoes in two MK-32 launchers.

AS SIDDIQ Class Guided-Missile Patrol Combatants
- Displacement; 495 tons
- Length; 190'
- Draft; 6'4"
- Speed; 34kts
- Range; 2,900 nm @ 14 kts
- Manning; 5 officers, 33 enlisted
-- 4 Harpoon
-- 1 76-mm/62.
-- 1 CIWS
-- 2 20-mm/40 Oerlikon
-- 1 88mm mortar
-- 2 40mm MK19 grenade launchers.

LCS-1 Class:
- Displacement; 3,000 tons
- Length; 348'
- Draft; 12'10"
- Speed; 47kts
- Range; 3,500 nm @ 18 kts
- Manning; 75+ TBD
-- 1 57 mm gun,
-- 4 .50-cal machine guns
-- 2 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster
-- 1 RIM-116 RAM launcher

LCS-2 Class:
- Displacement; 2,784 tons
- Length; 418'
- Draft; 13'
- Speed; 44kts
- Range; 4,300 nm @ 18 kts
- Manning; 75+ TBD
-- 1 57 mm gun,
-- 4 .50-cal machine guns
-- 2 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster
-- 1 SeaRAM CIWS

Yes, I know, I did not include the weapons on the mission modules. Why? Well - they don't exist.

Why even bring this up? Simple. First - the Saudi design was over two decades old when the initial sparks came up for LCS. The original idea was for something size wise between the BADR and AS SIDDIQ. From the building of those two classes, we knew two things - you were going to be top-heavy and overweight if you were not careful. Knowing that and tweeking a few things - why didn't we do what we started out wanting to do and create an updated Corvette?

Of course, we know why - it wasn't "Transformational." We needed that big word to impress people with and fill up the FITREP white space. So, in the end what do we have? We have a real fast, short legged frigate that is incredibly underarmed and overpriced. To be useful for warfighting, you will need to put on more weight (shocker). That will decrease both your speed and range. You have something that can't quite perform as a frigate or a corvette - but we'll have a lot of them because, well, we will have a lot of them.

I look at the 30-yr old designs that the Saudi's have and what we have now and I just sigh. An evolved and modern 21st Century warship somewhere between the two designs, that would be what - 766 tons displacement?
Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons
Yep. And look what she became - one of the most dirty, nasty, ugliest things out there with an IR signature almost as great as its visual plume of coal-like smoke and a wake that will create enough bio-luminescence to read by.

LCS - the ship that keeps on giving .... bloggers things to blog about.

Hat tip an old friend.


Wstr said...

LCS - designed to meet questionable doctrine; shallow draft; smokey stack; filthy without constant attention; reliant on paid contractor support; undermanned; outgunned. Machinist's Mate Jake Holman is unimpressed with 85 years of progress.

ewok40k said...

If I were Chinese, I'd seriously consider IR homing ASCMs, with a splash of stealth... the first sign of attack would be exploding LCS...

Anonymous said...

Why would you target an LCS?  It is not a threat to anything.

Anonymous said...

Transformational is when you completely ignore all the lessons you learned in the past and start over making new mistakes.

The Usual Suspect said...

<span>It's kind of like the F-4 of the sea.  No need for radar to find this sitting duck.</span>

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the killer was speed.  I'd be interested to see if there were any design tradeoff studies done.  The Navy used to have a good internal design capability, which they used not so much for design, as for figuring out what could and what could not be asked for - and the tradeoffs between characteristics.

DeltaBravo said...


DeltaBravo said...

Reminds me of that old joke about a camel being a racehorse designed by a committee....

Grandpa Bluewater said...

The real Yangze gunboats were decently armed when commissioned. Obsolete by the mid thirties, Panay managed to put up a gallant if unsuccessful defense and abandon ship in good order in 1937 against the Japanese. All but one of the others left China in the first week of Dec 1941, arriving in the Philipines in time to serve effectively defending the flanks of the Bataan Peninsula's defensive lines until the Army surrendered when food and other supplies were effectively exhausted.

Most of their officers and enlisted men became POW's. All suffered and many died while prisoners. The rat bastards who tortured and murdered them mostly got away with it.

Gen Homma was tried and executed for war crimes. His defense was he didn't know. The tribunal believed the crippled old Sergeant Major/Master Sergeant who lived through it, and saw the General driven down the road during the Death March in a nice new looted Convertible.

Readiness.  Prepare well or your sons (and daughters, now) will die in a far away land. Likely unavenged.

Not that those idiots in a park at the south end of Manhattan know or would care if they did.

LCS delende est.

Retired Now said...

The US Navy has had LCS for way over a decade.   Here's one:


Retired Now said...

HI RES PHOTO of a commissioned, hard-working, proven Littoral Combat Ship:

Please build more of these ASAP. 

LT B said...

The 50 kt speed "requirment" was a make believe figment of a FITREP bullet.  No real need for it and certainly the trade-off to get made for a crap "war"ship.  Additionally, the 50 kt ceiling was never reached.  But hey, who cares?  The dude that put that requirement on it will never serve in that POS.

Guest said...

40+ knots in shallow waters... surrounded by many fishing boats.... perhaps even some pleasure boats ?

ever attempted to use your fathometer over 30+ knots ?   forget it ..

and US Navy cruiser Captains can run an AEGIS CG aground off Hawaii while doing 0 knots  (as in DIW drifting onto a coral reef !)

so, you trust our current crop of CO's to navigate a 35-40 knot LCS in crowded littoral waters ?? unbelievable.

John said...

LCS is a very valuable asset due to their massive size.

They will be great artificial reefs.

Hopefully at a time (soon!) and place of our choosing, not the enemy's.

But, two will be sufficient, thank you.  Recycle any others under construction for scrap value and that will be a savings of billions of dollars which would be better wasted or spent on virtually any other program in the government, military or otherwise.

These ships are worthless for their intended purpose, adding huge costs but contributing no value, and worse, create a delusional belief that impedes any movement towards getting anything which may actually be useful, and affordable.

ewok40k said...

LCS is putting a new meaning to a SUNKEN cost... a quite littoral, erm, literal  one... yay for baaaad puns...

DeltaBravo said...

Beer cans for everyone!!!!

Stu said...


PK said...

come on GB, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.


James said...

So how much would it take to Refit a few cargo ships with flight decks capalbe of carrying Helicopters and Light CAS planes? Pair those up with say a light destroyer designed for Patrol purposes with say 2 5in guns a CIWS maybe a Harpoon launcher.....

Say 200 people or so between both those ships probably cost less a LCS and moduals and less to operate each year.

This would also give you alot of range and fire power if you used something like say....

Backed up by like this:

Lots of prop driven STOL aircraft that could be used.

Anonymous said...

Think he just did, pk.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Don't get me started. I gotta be careful about my blood pressure.

Surfcaster said...

Nice patina. Should be worth something to a collector soon.

Remember, NEVER try to clean the patina as that will devalue the jewelry quicker than anything!!!

Old Farter said...

I think part of the size issue is from wanting to be helo capable. Agree completely that the PCs are a good solution. Want to go fast? Got it covered. Try a Mk V Special Operations Craft. 

AOD said...

88mm mortar.  I'm liking it.  Mortars are extremely effective for ships operating in the littorals, especially as counterbattery to shore fire.  Our riverine boats should be equipped with them as well.  

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I am sure it is a typo, but the mortar is very likely an 81mm variety, not 88mm.  The Saudis field our M252 81mm mortar tubes.

xbradtc said...

I wrote a bit on some of the challenges of acquisition. And came to the same evolution vs. revolution conclusion.

LT B said...

I think we are all singing the same tune to the same preacher here.  Nobody goes that fast in the littorals, really.  Least of all big honking navy ships skippered by risk averse officer who is totally worried about career breaking decisions in a zero defect/tolerance navy.  And, the speed requirement was a HUGE reason the ship costs so much, and they STILL never reached the make believe requirement.

Anonymous said...

That's why LCS should be driven by a Surface LDO who is retirement eligible.  No worries about getting close (for a SWO a CPA of 5 miles is close!) or going fast.

James said...

What do you call a ship that cost as much as a Frigate,

is as big as a destroyer,

needs a friendly port with a airfield nearby, free dock space, at a secure site,

Has less firepower than a PT boat,

the range of a coastal patrol vessel,

and the Maintanence requirements of a stealth bomber,

Hint: Its probably in port leaking like ***** or at sea bellowing smoke like a WW1 DE at 30kts.

If you guessed LCS you win!

James said...

The answer is no of course as has been said LCS is designed to run from everything but fishing boats with ak-47's.

Build license to build it hee or a absolom class either one.

LT B said...

So, there I was, doing 10 kts!  She was 10,000 yds to starboard and closing fast.  We had to act fast.  She was CBDR and we only had 15 minutes to act.  This is too close for a MoBoard, I said and I had my helmsman throw  the helm over right 15 degrees!  Crisis averted.  Conn, eyes forward and put your cover back on, we're not at flight quarters, damn it!  ;)

ewok40k said...

But, this sounds, like, heroes of Samar... the Tin Cans! Maybe we should restart TBF and F6F production and recreate 100+ carrier USN? :P

Brickmuppet said...

There are domestic off he shelf solutions along these lines aimed at the export market..  The photo was taken at Euronaval '08 and so is official. Yes that does seem to be a 5" 54 on the bow as opposed to the 3" weapon in the brochure. It looks to scale with the RAM and Harpoon. Add ESSM and you're cooking with gas.

Brickmuppet said...

FFX is also fitted for but not with 16 VS tubes abaft the uptakes.

Aubrey said...

Guest, you're on to something - the only way a skipper can make anything of the poop-pie that is the LCS is if they are terminal in grade. Make it the last stop for former 3 & 4 stars, and if they can keep the keep the damn afloat in a contested littoral they get retire with them stars. otherwise it is back to O6, retire and be damned with you!

Jim said...

I know there is a replacement for Harpoon being developed. At this point, I'd be happy to see that weapon joining the fleet in appreciable numbers.

James said...

Nah just something that has long legs and a good payload.

Plus in a pinch the pocket carriers could be used for ASW, amphib ops, humanitarian projects, etc.......

And sense the vikings are gone and the Perry's are going to be retired....and LCS is what is supposed to replace them.............

PK said...

there is the matter of metric vs english fastners, shapes, plates,........

i know that it sounds dumb to the great nato types but for us ships its an important consideration.


PK said...

when the bronstein was built it was pretty embarrasing that sealand built several extremely large container/barge ships that ran faster than the b and had modern power plants.....

the money on the bronstien went into the radars, spoof gear......


ewok40k said...

it is grave threat to the naval budget...

sid said...

<span>40+ knots in shallow waters... surrounded by many fishing boats.... perhaps even some pleasure boats ? </span>

The Freedom drew blood three years ago!!

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 lines 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>


And nobody was fired...

Imagine that.

Anyway. Not a good OpsPlan if you intend to positively "Influence" the locals in the Gulf of Guinea...

Or Door County for that matter (see you up there next year LCS bubbahs...You never know who may be lurking about them that to me...and expect to buy me this.)

Spade said...

We kinda sorta did that in the late 80's during Operation Prime Chance.
They even had, get this, small patrol boats operating from barges and the like as well as helos. And it was amazingly joint (Army helos and surface defense soldiers, Navy ships and SEALs, Marines).

I assume they took all the lessons from that and threw them into a fire.

Scott Brim, USAF Partisan said...

Let's get everybody's opinion.... should this blog have an "LCS Monday" weekly article to go with its Diversity Thursday, Fullbore Friday, and Sunday Funnies regular features?

Surfcaster said...

Why stop LCS programing at one day per week? That would be like only funnies on Sunday.

leesea said...

BM there are LOTS of off the shelf designs.  One wonders what kind of AOA that NAVSEA did in addition to totalling botching the rqmts.
And they mesesd the Stanflex - MEKO concept all to hell when the USN tried to design a ship with multiple missions

leesea said...

Scott naval ship design NOW is something mostly farmed out to US contractors by NAVSEA.  One rational and cost effective solution is for the USN to BUY a foreign design.  Modify it in-house, then put it out for competition amongst US shipyards.

The Navy would own the design and all ramifications from using it.  More shipyards should be allowed to compete and win multiple construction awards. Been done before

leesea said...

AND amongst current weapons a 120 mm auto mortar such as single barrel NEMO and dual barrel AMOS should be on more coastal warships

leesea said...

PC are beyond their design life and were undersize and underarmed.  Mk V SOC also near end of life.  SOCOM wants CCH to replace them but has tested 90 ft Mk V PBC in the meantime.

Both are meant for different functions in the littorals under what BADRs or similar PFs should/could do

leesea said...

not really

Retired Now said...

The "new" design looks so much like the FPB being built at HALTER for Egypt, right down to the combat system (almost).

Note that Lockheed Martin is doing the Combat System for all 4 new Egyptian attack boats, and then note who would do the Combat System on the above "new" design.

It's so similar that Lockheed Martin should be able to do the "new" combat system for the above "new" warship, for No Cost at all !    

Or maybe not.   I'm sure they would rather be paid twice to do the same (or nearly the same) Combat System.  Late next year and in 2013, we will see just how well those 4 new Egyptian fast patrol boats  ( 200 foot length, 600 tons, RAM, 76mm, CIWS, Harpoon) will perform. 

pk said...

<span>bout whats the range a 120 mm mortar?</span>