Monday, March 18, 2013

No Hobgoblins in CNSL's Nogg'n

Via our buddy Chris at DefenseNews, you may want to tighten your 5-point harness a bit. We have gone from here;
It’s a high speed, shallow draft, multi-mission workhorse full of technology that is our future. As we decommission different ships of various classes, LCS will step up and fill multiple roles.
To here;
A recommended re-evaluation of the next flights of LCSs — beyond the 24 ships now delivered, under construction, on order or with contract options — is only part of a classified memo, “Vision for the 2025 Surface Fleet,” submitted late last year by the head of Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert. The Navy’s current plans call for building 52 littoral combat ships, so if the service opted to go in a different direction it would essentially cut the LCS program of record in half.
OK, avoiding foolish consistency isn't too bad. Hey ... remember LCS(I) from '06 & '09, and VISBY from '07?
The successor may either be the Freedom-class or Independence-class designs now being built, an up-gunned, multimission variant of the current ships, or a completely different type of ship, according to senior Navy officials familiar with high-level thinking.

The up-gunned, multimission variant would perhaps be similar to the “international” versions that both builders have developed to entice foreign customers.
Something is going on here ... VADM Copeman ... have you been hanging out on the front porch all these years, or is everyone at last going Salamander on us? More people owe me beers.  More;
Also recommended, sources said, is a replacement for today’s dock landing ships limited to capability and capacity actually needed, rather than the expensive San Antonio-class LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ships (LPDs) being built. Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls already is proposing a scaled-down LPD, dubbed LPD Flight II, that keeps the LPD 17’s big hull but dispenses with many of the 17’s more expensive features and larger superstructure.
Wow. Welcome to 2005.

Well ... I'm not being fair. Just like you can't classify math - you can't take credit for common sense. The following is something we used to complain about since I was and Ensign & Bush 41 was President ... and it is still true.
The fleet also needs a better anti-surface missile with increased range and the ability to destroy an enemy warship, yet not too expensive. Copeman also called for more credible ship-launched anti-submarine weapons.
We are WAY late in having an adult conversation about our ASCM and more importantly, our LWT capabilities.

This paragraph is a bit more sporty;
Copeman, according to several sources familiar with the document, also recommended against building the DDG 51 Flight III destroyers, a modification of the Arleigh Burke class to be fitted with the new Air Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) under development to replace the SPY-1 radars used in Aegis warships. The AMDR, designed with higher power and fidelity to handle the complex ballistic-missile defense mission, will require significantly more electrical power than the current system. And, while the AMDR apparently will fit into the DDG 51 hull, margins for future growth are severely limited.

Instead, sources said Copeman recommends creating a new, large surface combatant fitted with AMDR and designed with the power, weight and space to field “top-end energy weapons” like the electromagnetic rail gun under development by the Navy.

The new ship could also be developed into a replacement for today’s Ticonderoga-class missile cruisers in the air defense mission of protecting deployed aircraft carriers — a mission Copeman says needs to be preserved. All flattops have a “shotgun” cruiser that accompanies them throughout a deployment, but the missile ships are aging and, by 2025, only four will remain in service to protect the fleet’s 11 carriers.
I differ.  FLT-III is a gapfiller ... really a light cruiser. It will word as a "good" as to be frank; we have only begun the budget squeeze - through 2030 we simply do not have enough money for "perfect." 

We cannot re-capitalize our Strategic deterrent even at half-strength and design-build a new large surface combatant at what will be a much smaller budget (unless we ignore, in spades, Jim Lacey). Prior to 2030 we nor any other navy will be fielding in any operationally significant manner a "top-end energy weapon" - much less design-build and deploy in 12-years from now when we are down to 4 TICOs.

No, the CGL that will be the FLT-III will have to do.

Hat tip Travis.

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