Littoral Combat Ships (LCS)


I don't think Saudis have the capability experience to operate advanced warships

Better would be buy off the shelve and have them manned foreign sailors
Mr. Iqbal, which "off the shelve" warships, manned by which "foreign sailors" should, in your opinion, the Royal Saudi Navy get?
 

Jeff Head

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I don't think Saudis have the capability experience to operate advanced warships
Not so.

They already operate three of these:

Frigate_Al_Makkah.jpg

These are the Al Riyadh class and are newer, expanded, anti-aircraft warfare versions of the French Lafayette frigates and displace 4,700 tons. The carry Aster 15 missiles in Sylver VLS cells, Exocet missiles, 533mm torpedo launchers, ASW helicopter, and their main gun.

They are very modern and very capable.
 
I haven't heard Senator McCain commenting on the USN LCS for some time ...
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The war over the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship is
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. This morning, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman
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warned Navy leaders that their drive towards
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may be repeating the mistakes that resulted in the original, much-criticized LCS design.

“Without a clear capabilities-based assessment, it is not clear what operational requirements
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is designed to meet,” McCain said. “The Navy must demonstrate what problem the upgraded LCS is trying to solve. We must not make this mistake again.”

The biggest controversy over the Littoral Combat Ship has been
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. At this morning’s hearing,
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acknowledged a small ship would never be as tough as a full-size destroyer but that “survivability — for a small surface combatant, particularly with the upgrades — meets our fleet requirements.”

That sounds okay, but it begs the crucial question: Are the requirements right? Meeting the standard doesn’t help if the standard is set too low. Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactor was designed with the requirement to survive anything short of a once-in-a-century storm, for example, but it turned out that 100-year-storm occurred a lot earlier than anticipated.

For another example, both the current and upgraded LCS designs have radically unorthodox hulls and disproportionately massive powerplants — with a complex combination of both diesel and turbine engines — because the Navy wants the ships to go faster than 40 knots. That’s staggeringly fast for a warship, about 30 percent faster than an Aegis destroyer. But no one in the Navy seems to have ever figured out
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in a real-world tactical situation. It’s a solution searching for a problem.

Skeptics argue that launching helicopters, drones, and missiles provides far faster response at far less cost than trying to accelerate the whole ship. A requirement that sounded intuitively awesome to the admirals might have proven excessive if subjected to rigorous analysis, but that analysis wasn’t done.

The Navy did conduct a great deal of analysis before settling on the upgraded LCS designs — but much of that analysis was based on naval officers’ intuition and experience. A
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conducted extensive focus groups with experienced officers across the fleet, asking them to rate the value of different capabilities and make tradeoffs among them to determine the highest priorities. The SSCTF then used computer modeling to work through thousands of alternative designs, from all-new warships to foreign designs to modifications of the existing LCS, ultimately choosing a modified LCS
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.

That was work worth doing, but it can’t replace the traditional process of formal analysis, Congressional Research Service analyst Ron O’Rourke argues in a
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. O’Rourke takes issue not with the Small Surface Combatant Task Force itself, but with then-Secretary Chuck Hagel’s
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that rebooted LCS in the first place.

“[There are] two formal, rigorous analyses that do not appear to have been conducted prior to the announcement of the program’s restructuring,” O’Rourke writes. Before you commit taxpayer dollars to a weapons program, you traditionally take three steps, he writes: “[1] identify capability gaps and mission needs; [2] compare potential general approaches for filling those capability gaps or mission needs…and [3] refine the approach selected as the best or most promising.” In short, you figure out what problem you’re trying to solve, then how to solve it, then how best to implement that solution. The upgraded LCS skipped the first two steps.

Specifically, the Small Surface Ship Combatant Task Force did Step No. 3. The SSCTF was created to examine existing, all-new, and modified designs for “
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.” After extensive analysis, the task force came up with the ship that met those criteria best. But it was Hagel’s memo that set those criteria. It did so with no evident analysis of what specific problem the frigate was supposed to solve. Nor was there analysis of whether a frigate was the best solution, as opposed to some other kind of ship or something else altogether — for example a larger ship, an aircraft, or new tactics.

“Having refined the design concept for [the upgraded LCS], the Navy will now define and seek approval for the operational requirements for the ship,” O’Rourke writes. “Skeptics might argue that definition and approval of operational requirements should come first, and conceptual design should follow, not the other way around.”

For an expert like O’Rourke to pose the question is itself significant: He’s
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, and his job at CRS is specifically about advising Congress. For a bulldog like
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to promise oversight on the issue raises it to a higher level — one the Pentagon needs to deal with.
source:
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Brumby

Major
I haven't heard Senator McCain commenting on the USN LCS for some time ...
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The LCS program in my view is one of those programs where it is hard to stay positive. The decisions surrounding the program is inexplicable and appears to be one misstep after another rather than any serious attempt to correct some fundamental issues with it.

I think basically there are two major themes of the program which are important going forward i.e. to address ASW and MCM and both of them appears to be running into trouble primarily because of basic design issues. Primarily in my view, the navy should re-size the engine to a lower power output. This will address a number of things immediately like space, noise, weight, endurance and probably cost. The original premise for speed is rather difficult to establish if you attempt to trace back the program history. The only cogent argument for it is based on the original assumption that mission modules could be swapped in 24 hours or days rather than weeks as is the case now. The aim of speed was to be able to transit and swap mission modules quickly based on operational requirements. Given that the original assumption of module swap is no longer feasible, it is rather redundant to maintain the speed requirement. Recent field testings had also demonstrated ; (i) the targeted speed of >40 knots cannot be delivered without compromising endurance; and (ii) the ship vibration presents stability issues in maintaining gun firing accuracy.

In addition, engine noise is seriously degrading the acoustic ASW capability plus the fact that ADS had been cancelled, there is effectively no organic ASW capability within the current configuration other than the ASW helicopter attached to it. The ASW module development focusing on TAS and VDS is unproven viz a viz the engine noise factor. The upgraded LCS should have focussed on a more capable ASW vessel but that did not happen. Absent a capable LCS with dependent ASW module would default to Burkes ($1.5 billion vessel) to go after a SSK ($0.5 billion sub). It is rather cost ineffective and disproportionate in risk reward.
 

Jeff Head

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The LCS program in my view is one of those programs where it is hard to stay positive. The decisions surrounding the program is inexplicable and appears to be one misstep after another rather than any serious attempt to correct some fundamental issues with it.
I tend to agree with McCain on this staement.

John McCain said:
Without a clear capabilities-based assessment, it is not clear what operational requirements
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is designed to meet,” McCain said. “The Navy must demonstrate what problem the upgraded LCS is trying to solve. We must not make this mistake again.
This current Administration's Navy leadership identified that a problem exists...and even went on to pretty well define what it was for the most part.

But their solution was lame.

It did not (IMHO) go very far to address the problem. More of a "political" solution that is almost like window dressing.

Almost like, "See the new ship...same as the old ship."
 
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FORBIN

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The US Navy (USN) has awarded a total of USD1.053 billion to the two companies building the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for three ships in fiscal year 2015 (FY 2015), plus advanced procurement funding for the next hull to be acquired (in FY 2016), officials announced on 1 April.

As part of a contract modification issued on 31 March, two ships (LCS 22 and 24) were awarded to Austal USA, the builder of the Independence variant LCS, and one ship (LCS 21) was awarded to Lockheed Martin, the team lead on the Freedom variant LCS being built by Marinette Marine Corp. In addition, the navy is providing advanced procurement funding of USD79 million to Lockheed for LCS 23, which will be fully funded in FY 2016. Both teams also received priced options for one LCS apiece in FY 2016.

The USN had planned on acquiring four LCS in FY 2015 to complete its 20-ship block buy contract originally issued in December 2010. But as reported by IHS Jane's in March 2014, the USN deferred acquisition of the fourth LCS in FY 2015 because of budgetary constraints, and thus it is funding only three LCS as opposed to the planned four ships as indicated in previous budgets.

Since FY 2012, the USN has funded four LCS per year, splitting the ships evenly between the yards so that each builder was funded to construct two LCS annually. Thus the three LCS fully funded in FY 2015 alters the pattern.
Austal USA is receiving USD691 million for its two ships; Lockheed is receiving a USD362 million award for its ship, plus the USD79 million advance procurement funding for its second ship.

IHS Jane's in February 2015 reported that the navy would extend the existing 20-ship LCS block buy contract time frame so as to allow for the fourth LCS to be acquired in FY 2016.
"Getting the second ship [fully] awarded by 31 December allows us to maintain the production schedule for the second ship," Lockheed Martin's Joe North, vice-president of littoral ship systems, told reporters during a conference call on 1 April. "As long that second ship is fully funded with the remaining effort by the 31 December this year, it's the equivalent of ... [receiving] two ships in [FY] 2015, with an option for another one in [FY] 2016."

A Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spokesperson said that awarding two ships to Austal and one to Lockheed - plus the advance funding for a second - was the least expensive option for the navy, and NAVSEA also reiterated that both yards could do the work and that schedules were not an issue.
According to the navy, the prices for the three FY 2015 ships were determined based on the block buy contracts initially awarded in December 2010 for 20 LCS, evenly split between the two yards.

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Jeff Head

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At this point, if I had a magic wand, I would wave it to do the following.

STOP the current LCS builds at the 20 ships. Then get Lockheed and GD to come up with the plan to retrofit those ships beginning with their first major overhauls to do the following:

1) For the Freedom class, make them an ASW frigate for escort duties with adequate self defense against air and surface targets. Not area capability, but more adequate self defense.

2) For the Independence class ships, make them dedicated to the following two missions, using their internal spaces to fully equip the CMM and ASuW warfare capabilities. Add the better AAW defenses as per the Freedom class, but also add stronger ASuW capabilities to include Longer Range ASuW missiles (either the NSM or LRASM) as well as the necessary weapons to handle swarming fast attack craft.

That would be the end game for the 20 LCS.

Then have Lockheed and GD build a further 16 vessels each that are in fact level II combat designed and built mulit-mission frigates that can be used for ASW, ASuW, and AAW escort duties. No long range AAW, and not AEGIS, but definitely out to medium range and using effective mid-range sensors. Also make them cooperative engagem,ent capable with the larger Burk and Tico AEGIS vessels.

I'd say such a vessel would be armed a 16 cell VLS that holds 8 LR ASMs,and 32 ESSms, a 76mm gun, a Sea-Ram and a Phalanx CIWS, two ASW helos, and six torpedo tubes.
 

navyreco

Senior Member
Loads of LCS news in the past few days





US Chief of Naval Ops Adm. Jonathan Greenert Stresses Versatility of Independence Class LCS
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US Navy Issues Contract Modification to Lockheed Martin to Construct Procure Littoral Combat Ships
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US Navy funds two further Independence class Littoral Combat Ships, with option added for a third
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Jeff Head

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Here's the latest spreadsheet I have on the US Navy LCS vessels and their status:

LCS-2015-0414.jpg
Eight vessels launched and christened. Four vessels commissioned, two more on trials to commission this year, two more outfitting to commission next year. Four more building.
 
as I posted long ago (https://www.sinodefenceforum.com/littoral-combat-ships-lcs.t3993/page-67#post-318669 -- overlooked or ignored here :) the "beefed up" USN LCSs (officially FF) will NOT have minesweeping capabilities ... further confirmation in the article from this week
SAS 2015: Tight schedule for US frigate acquisition
by
Frigate programme manager, Capt Dan Brintzinghoffer
Brintzinghoffer said there are already some weight allowances because the frigate will not have the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) equipment such as the RMMV and supporting equipment such as cranes, which will save 25t already.
source:
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