Thursday, July 30, 2015

LCS Update - come on ... you know you want one ...

Remember, LCS-1 was commissioned in 2008 and it still cannot do anything but presence missions - more expensively and less effectively than a Coast Guard Cutter.

How are all those great mission modules going?

Via our buddy Megan;
The Littoral Combat Ship’s mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package will not reach initial operational capability (IOC) by the end of September as planned, after reliability issues forced the program to stretch out the test period and delay Pentagon-level initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E).

USS Independence (LCS-2) has been off the coast of Florida conducting a technical evaluation since April, and that test event was supposed to have wrapped up by early June to allow for IOT&E this month and a final IOC declaration by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

But LCS Mission Modules Program Manager Capt. Casey Moton said Thursday at a Mine Warfare Association lunch that across-the-board reliability problems in the two start-to-finish mine clearance runs in the technical evaluation led the program to extend the evaluation for several months rather than move prematurely to IOT&E.
With enough money and time, we'll get it fixed. Well, we better.

And ASW?
The Littoral Combat Ship’s anti-submarine warfare mission package needs to shed some weight before it can deploy on a ship, and the Navy awarded three contracts to help find weight-reduction ideas.

The mission package includes two mature and fielded sonar systems, plus the hardware needed to integrate the systems with the ship. LCS Mission Module Program Manager Capt. Casey Moton said Thursday at a Mine Warfare Association lunch that each of his three mission modules is given 105 metric tons of weight on the LCS, but the ASW as it stands today surpasses that limit.

The mission package includes a Variable-Depth Sonar – the Navy chose the Thales UK Sonar 2087, the same VDS used on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate – as well as the Multi-Function Towed Array used on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51) and eventually the Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG-1000). The Navy cannot overhaul either mature system, so it has hired Advanced Acoustic Concepts, L-3 Communications and Raytheon to find more creative ways to reduce weight.
Sigh. All the wasted time, money, and credibility.

When it is all said and done - this sub-optimal solution to a real world requirement will be ~20% of our fleet.

That is the largest crime, right after our decision to throw good money after bad and not looking back. 

Solution? We're past that. We can only hope we get DDG(X) right - and we will only do that if we are honest about the mistakes we made with LCS, DDG-1000, and LPD-17. We're stuck with the Little Crappy Ship and it's upgraded spawn Frick-n-Frack for the small warship for a few decades.

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