Tuesday, August 18, 2020

LUSV is Looking Like a Mating of Jeffboats and Auxillary Cruisers

Our friend David Larter may have to report this straight, but I am under no such requirement. 

Get the waffle-paddle out - time to take the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) to task.

Unchallenged dreams, accountants, and yes men - these are what get us, to be blunt, shitty programs. Throw in a bit of careerism and greed with a few other human weaknesses ... and you get a fleet - just not one worth a damn in war.
As the U.S. Navy pushes forward with developing its large unmanned surface vessel, envisioned as a kind of external missile magazine that will tag along with larger manned surface combatants, a growing consensus is forming that the service needs to get its requirements and systems right before making a big investment.
In other words, sober minds have reached the point they can't dismiss the neo-transformationalist money pit otherwise smart people are pushing. Good.
“The approach has to be deliberate,” Gilday said. “We have to make sure that the systems that are on those unmanned systems with respect to the [hull, mechanical and electrical system], that they are designed to requirement, and perform to requirement. And most importantly, are those requirements sound?
That is the polite way for the CNO to say, "You know that fiasco that was LCS and DDG-1000? We need to at least pretend that we learned something from that living nightmare."
“What I’ve found is that we didn’t necessarily have the rigor that’s required across a number of programs that would bring those together in a way that’s driven toward objectives with milestones,” Gilday told Defense News.
AKA, people were believing the PPT and industry/consultant spin and fever dreams.
“The Navy wants LUSVs to be low-cost, high-endurance, reconfigurable ships based on commercial ship designs, with ample capacity for carrying various modular payloads — particularly anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and strike payloads, meaning principally anti-ship and land-attack missiles,” the report read.
The Navy also wants a pony for its birthday.
“One of the biggest challenges people are realizing now is the machinery systems and keeping the systems operational for six months [over a deployment],” Collette said. “If you think about a ship today, there are daily machinery rounds and constant preventative maintenance. The Navy has its casualty reporting system, and the commercial world has something very similar. And over six months, that’s a lot of work that’s not getting done on the autonomous ship.
This challenge, the merchant one, is actually the easiest to overcome. For the military, you have legal, piracy, connectivity, damage control and AI maturity that are the harder nuts to crack.
“But the other approach is to try and monitor it and put in a lot of redundancy and figure out how we get this system reimagined so it can do a six-month deployment. And I can’t really assess where we are with that at this point, I just don’t have enough insight to know if that’s six months away. Is it six years? Is it never reachable?”
Another polite way of saying, "Calm down people. This is about as ready for prime time as a 1950s Popular Mechanics article on the future military."
...jumping toward something like large unmanned surface vessel, is a big, big step with a lot of risk.”
This last quote gives me hope. I think we have in some quarters at least, hoisted aboard the hard lessons of the Age of Transformationalism. We need to maintain a humble view of what we can accomplish, re-embrace the "build a little, test a little, learn a lot" approach to weapons development and to keep a weather eye out for squishy salesmen pushing snake oil dripping PPT programs.

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