Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Even Lockheed Goes Salamander on LCS

At some point in the last few months, I've shifted from, "I told you so." to simple schadenfreudic joy at the LCS news.

For the better part of a decade and a half, one of the critiques we've had - and proven correct - was the "exquisite" design of the Little Crappy Ship that left little room for anything a warship would need to do in actual combat.

Sure, we've received a lot of pushback - but time and time again we've seen our critiques acknowledged by the pro-LCS camp. You can only fake things so much; even the best spin wears thin with time.

The exquisite nature of the China-doll engineering plant is well documented. As team-LCS is pushing hard to get validation of their years of suffering by winning the FFG(X) program, there are some things even they are willing to throw in the towel on.

Again, turn to David Larter for the good-scoop;
Lockheed Martin is planning to shift from Littoral Combat Ship’s water-jet propulsion to a propulsion system that the U.S. Navy is more familiar with for its future frigate offering, Lockheed’s vice president for small combatants and ship systems told reporters at the 2018 Euronaval show.

As it works through the Navy’s requirements for it’s FFG(X) program, Lockheed is hoping that a more traditional twin-screw design with independent drive trains will entice the service towards its offering.
“We felt the more traditional approach to the suite, going with more of the ... port and starboard side, redundant type of propulsion trains, that familiarity would be well received by the Navy. Going to more of a common system sized for the FFG(X),” said Joe DePietro.
Yes, let the joy of your opponent making your point wash over you.

There is also an admission of one of the tactical shortcomings of the entire CONOPS/design interface.

"Littoral" implies that you are going to take this not-small-ship in close, with very few weapons, and so tightly designed for speed, it lacks the ability to sustain even a couple of rounds from a ZU-23-2 bolted on the back of a Toyota, and keep on fighting.
One of the major hang-ups with the design requirements for all the competitors has been requirement that the engineering spaces be separated by a certain number of meters so that if the ship takes damage in one area, the other space should be online to drive the ship. If the design can’t meet the spacing requirement, an alternative propulsion unit has to be installed.
Only a fool would take the LCS in close - well, no - correction.

Sailors and professionals will follow orders to take the ship their Navy provided them in close regardless of the odds; only a fool would allow such a sub-optimal platform to make up such a large portion of his surface force that he and his Sailors don't have a choice.

What is this magical concept we are talking about? A warship that is designed to fight hurt? Well, good luck with that.

Of course, this means that we will wind up picking these for FFG(X), but oh well.

Pray for peace.

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