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Thread: Littoral Combat Ships

  1. #1231
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    China's New Frigate Design Looks Awfully Familiar


    The three-hull design is more heavily armed than the American ship that inspired it.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/mili...-hull-frigate/

    A new frigate design being built for China's People's Liberation Army Navy bears a striking resemblance to the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship. The design, as reported by Jane's Defense Weekly, uses a three-hull trimaran design and is more heavily armed than the Independence-class LCS ships.

    A model of the ship design was being exhibited by the China Shipbuilding Trading Company at the IDEX 2017 arms show in Abu Dhabi. According to JDW, the ship displaces 2,450 tons and has a length of 465 feet. The ship is powered by diesel engines powering an electric propulsion system, giving it a cruising speed of 25 knots and the ability to sprint between 30 and 35 knots. It has a crew of more than 100.

    The ship is impressively armed for its small size, packing a 76-millimeter gun in the bow, with a field of 16 or 32 vertical launch missile silos behind it. It also has two box launchers of four anti-ship missiles each, two 30-millimeter close-in weapon systems, and a pair of decoy rocket launchers for deflecting incoming missiles. The ship is built to support up to two helicopters with two hangars and a large helicopter landing pad.

    The ship is very, very similar to the U.S. Navy's Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships. The Independence class is roughly the same weight but 50 feet shorter and with typically thirty percent fewer crew. It is also capable of much greater speeds, "sprinting" for short distances at up to 45 knots. The baseline version of the U.S. Navy's trimarans have only a single, smaller 57-millimeter gun and two 30-millimeter guns. A new, upgunned version of the ship adding Hellfire anti-surface missiles and a new over-the-horizon anti-ship missile may begin construction next year.

    It's unclear why the Chinese Navy would want these ships. China already has a monohull frigate class, the Type 054A Jiangkai II. While the Type 054As are fifty percent larger in tonnage than the new trimaran design, the assembly line is already up and running having already produced 23 of the frigates. Trimaran hulls offer increased stability in high seas and wider hulls to accommodate side-by-side aircraft hangars. This suggests that aviation—both manned and unmanned—is going to be a bigger part of the Chinese Navy's surface fleet of the future.

    This is not the first Chinese trimaran. The two relatively new Type 917 salvage and rescue ships serving with the North and East Sea Fleets also sport a three hull configuration.

  2. #1232
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    The usual assumption is that they bought the design from a Russian design company who was trying to peddle just this to the Russian Navy a bit over a year ago.

    Realistically, if they procure them in numbers, the focus will likely be on pretty much providing helicopter platforms to operationally replace the extant fleet of Type 037 subchasers and other littoral craft, filling the ASW-focus role that the Type 022 missile boats and Type 056 corvettes don't cover.

  3. #1233
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    China's New Frigate Design Looks Awfully Familiar


    The three-hull design is more heavily armed than the American ship that inspired it.
    First, I doubt it "inspired it". Secound, it's more "heavily armed" because, form aside, it's clearly a classic frigate, not a hull trying to be jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-all...

  4. #1234
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    First, I doubt it "inspired it". Secound, it's more "heavily armed" because, form aside, it's clearly a classic frigate, not a hull trying to be jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-all...

    actually its pretty apparent that there is austal DNA in that design - and that would not be surprising as the PLAN also copied the 2208 from an Australian maritime architectural design

    the Australian company tried to pursue the Chinese for patent infringement but got nowhere as the Chinese wouldn't identify the design house. The fact that the 2208 dimensions were identical to work done to provide the chinese with a fast small water taxi and was then converted to a military top hull was inescapable.

    the LCS trimaran design is australian - not american - and that design was based on Austals Benchijigua Express

    the chinese design is a whole lot closer to Austals early Trimaram 126 meter HSSV that was provided to the USN in 2008 rather than the current LCS iteration. The HSSV was also based on lessons learnt from the Benchijigua Express

    So this hull and the 2208 were both designs from Austal and AMS design shops circa 2006-2008

    The Russian designs purchased by DERA in the early 90's were a completely different hull form - the Russians had a different design philosophy towards trimarans

    the only trimaran based on those russian designs was built by/for UK Govt and the vessel ended up being sold and then leased to Aust Gov for fisheries patrol

    its a failed design as has horrible sea keeping qualities and is universally despised by crews due to handling flaws. the beam to hull length ratios just weren't right. (there is a formula for beam to length in trimaran designs)

    so its not russian based - based on the russian drawings on trimaran concepts that I have seen. the russians abandoned trimaran hulls so I doubt that the continued investing money into it. the design capability was lost anyway
    Last edited by gf0012-aust; 24 Feb 17, at 23:15.

  5. #1235
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    To me the frigate concept presented at IDEX looks expressly like an expansion on the Type 917 salvage ships, pretty much slightly enlarged with a new forward section and a hangar added on the back deck. Unlike the trimaran corvette also presented btw, which looks simply like an enlarged Type 22.

    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    the russians abandoned trimaran hulls so I doubt that the continued investing money into it.
    ZPKB had a new trimaran design in 2015 called SAR.

    http://www.navyrecognition.com/index...gn-bureau.html

  6. #1236
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    To me the frigate concept presented at IDEX looks expressly like an expansion on the Type 917 salvage ships, pretty much slightly enlarged with a new forward section and a hangar added on the back deck. Unlike the trimaran corvette also presented btw, which looks simply like an enlarged Type 22.


    ZPKB had a new trimaran design in 2015 called SAR.

    http://www.navyrecognition.com/index...gn-bureau.html
    that looks like a smoother design of the original hulls that DERA acquired in 1997. In fact config wise its a dead ringer. would be interested to see the specs as it looks dimensionally identical

    edit - this is a smaller vessel but based on the same hull design
    Last edited by gf0012-aust; 25 Feb 17, at 07:55.

  7. #1237
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    To me the frigate concept presented at IDEX lZPKooks expressly like an expansion on the Type 917 salvage ships, pretty much slightly enlarged with a new forward section and a hangar added on the back deck. Unlike the trimaran corvette also presented btw, which looks simply like an enlarged Type 22.
    the 2208 series are the design stolen off AMD and which they tried to pursue through the courts
    the BE trimaran hull design is only done by Austal and a variant done by another Australian company (AMD), that chinese hull is also a captive bow - and Austal and Echo (australian co.) are the only trimaran builders building captive bows due to bow to out rider length and keel shape ratios

    the russian designs acquired by DERA were all based on outrigger configs - the ZPKB continues the outrigger concept
    Last edited by gf0012-aust; 25 Feb 17, at 09:29.

  8. #1238
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    Add four Saudi Frigates to the Marinette build list.
    https://news.usni.org/2017/05/19/sau...-u-s-arms-sale

  9. #1239
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Add four Saudi Frigates to the Marinette build list.
    https://news.usni.org/2017/05/19/sau...-u-s-arms-sale
    Is this one of the possible future frigates for the USN?

  10. #1240
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    It is, and may give team Marinette a leg up?

  11. #1241
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    Pentagon Requests Just 1 Littoral Combat Ship in FY 2018 Budget Despite Navy’s Industrial Base Concerns

    5/23/2017
    USNI News

    [THE PENTAGON] – The Navy intends to buy just one Littoral Combat Ship in Fiscal Year 2018 – in line with its previous long-range shipbuilding plans but not enough to keep the two yards currently building LCSs open and competitive in the upcoming frigate competition.

    The Navy has repeatedly said it would have to buy three LCS hulls a year to sustain the workforce at Austal USA and Fincantieri Marinette Marine. However, its long-range shipbuilding plans were previously trimmed to two this current fiscal year and one a year going forward to keep in line with a December 2015 Pentagon decision to truncate the LCS program and move to a new frigate instead. The frigate program was recently pushed back by a year, though, from a planned 2019 start to 2020, putting Austal and Marinette in a precarious position if the Navy were to follow through with the Pentagon’s plans to only purchase one ship a year in 2018 through 2020.

    Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told USNI News earlier this month that Austal and Marinette would have to compete in a full and open competition for the frigate contract in 2020, but he noted they may have an advantage in that they have hot production lines with the reduced costs that come along with that – giving them a potential quality and cost advantage over other bidders without production experience. Breaking their production line, however, would put people out of work and hurt their chances of winning frigate work.

    In December 2016, when Stackley was serving as the Navy’s acquisition chief, he told USNI News that having a continuous, steady backlog of work was vital to the health of the shipyards.

    “If the shipyard doesn’t have a backlog, it’s out of business,” he said, adding that the 2017 contract awards keep the yard busy through 2020 or 2021 but that new ships must continue to be awarded to keep the workforce and the suppliers busy.

    “What that means is, the day you award that last ship, you’re going to start laying people off, and you’re going to lay them off until they’re gone. You’re going to lay them off in the sequence in which you build the ship. So when you are going to build another ship, if you are going to stop production and build another ship, you’ve lost your skilled labor and you’ve got to rebuild it,” he said, which would apply to the LCS to frigate transition, as an Marinette- or Austal-built frigate would be based off the Freedom- or Independence-variant LCS, respectively. “Where that [pause in production] has occurred [in previous shipbuilding programs] we have experienced extreme cost delays and quality issues. So that is something that we as a Navy, we as a nation do not choose to do. We do not want to lay off skilled labor and then try to rehire them a couple years later to restart production.”

    Asked to confirm that LCS and frigate contracts would have to be awarded heel-to-toe, Stackley replied, “unless you want to put the shipyard out of business.”

    Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) patrols the Pacific Ocean during flight operations in the 7th Fleet area of operation on Oct. 6, 2016. US Navy photo.

    Program Executive Officer for LCS Rear Adm. John Neagley said at a conference in January that keeping the hot production lines would be important for the frigate program – though at the time the competition was still limited to just Austal and Marinette.

    “Leveraging a hot production line is kind of a key strategy for us. In terms of LCS, we have two production lines at two shipyards; taking advantage of that investment that already has occurred in the shipyards both from a people standpoint and infrastructure standpoint is important,” Neagley said.

    In a budget rollout briefing today, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Brian Luther told USNI News that the decision to buy only one ship was not meant to affect the industrial base. Rather, he said, the Navy is still counting on both yards remaining viable for the frigate competition.

    “The intent is to have two shipyards competitive in 2020. The Navy seeks to have a competitive bidding process,” he said.

    Asked about balancing industrial base health concerns with Defense Secretary James Mattis’ directive to focus on fleet wholeness and readiness in 2018 and growth only in 2019, Luther said, “the guidance was fix, fill the holes for ’18, but the industrial base is a consideration, for the shipyards, for airplanes, for weapons. So we – the direction was clear – we filled the holes first. And as we go forward for the future we will look at the industrial base. And we will conduct a review to ensure we understand truly what a minimum sustain rate is for an acquisition program, and then we will review what is sustainable. The goal for the Navy is to have both shipyards available to compete for the [frigate] competition down the road, so we would respond accordingly in the out-years if it was necessary.”

    Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who represents the Marinette Marine shipyard that builds Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-variant LCS, wrote a letter directly to President Donald Trump on May 12 to request funding for three ships in 2018, and the letter implies that reduced funding now would lead to rapid layoffs – meaning that the Navy trying to address industrial base health concerns in 2019 or later would be too late.

    “In Wisconsin, only two LCS in FY18 would result in approximately 450 direct shipyard worker layoffs, or 20 percent of the workforce at the yard, and a total of 1,200 jobs lost across the state. Only one LCS in FY18 could result in up to 800 layoffs at the shipyard, or 36 percent of the workforce, and a total of 1,850 jobs lost across the state,” reads her letter.

    “Layoffs of this magnitude would have dire impacts on the ability of the Marinette shipyard and supply chain to compete for the Navy’s Frigate, which will soon follow the LCS,” she continues. “That would result in reduced competition in the Frigate acquisition, driving up costs to the taxpayer, and harm to our national security by undercutting the strength of our domestic industrial base. Indeed, Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley has testified about the importance of preserving industrial base jobs, noting that a failure to do so will ultimately harm the American taxpayer in the form of increased cost and decreased quality.”

    Lawmakers like Baldwin may be able to force the Pentagon’s hand, though. This current fiscal year, the Navy requested just two LCSs, in line with the trimmed-down long-range shipbuilding plan. Lawmakers added funding for a third to sustain the industrial base. With the House and Senate armed services committees already pushing for much more defense spending than the Trump administration previewed in its “skinny budget” in March – HASC chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said he wanted to see about $40 billion more for defense than the administration called for – LCS spending is sure to be a hot issue to watch this summer.

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    Trump administration backs second LCS in FY-18

    5/24/2017
    Inside Defense

    One day after the Navy released its fiscal year 2018 budget request, which included one Littoral Combat Ship, a top service official said Wednesday the Navy, backed by the White House, "supports funding" an additional LCS.

    Allison Stiller, performing the duties of the Navy acquisition executive, said in her opening statement before the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee that the Navy would like two LCSs in FY-18.

    She told Inside Defense after the hearing that she learned Wednesday morning the Office of Management and Budget would support the purchase of a second LCS.

    Asked how the Navy would pay for it, Stiller said she doesn't have that information.

    "The administration is supportive of a second LCS," she said. "I don't have any additional details." LCS is built by two shipbuilders. One shipyard is located in Wisconsin and the other is in Alabama.

    "Congressman [Bradley] Byrne [R-AL] is very pleased to see them increase the request," according to a statement from his office. "He believes that only funding a single ship would have been detrimental to the industrial base as they continue to work towards the frigate."

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    OMB will publish budget 'errata' that adds second LCS in FY-18 request

    5/25/2017
    Inside Defense

    The Office of Management and Budget will publish a budget "errata" that adds a second Littoral Combat Ship to the fiscal year 2018 budget request, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

    "The total request is two LCS ships," Air Force Lt Col. Eric Badger wrote in a May 25 statement. "The Navy will identify the offset."

    The statement comes just two days after the Navy officially rolled out its FY-18 budget request, which included only one LCS.

    Allison Stiller, performing the duties of Navy acquisition executive, first surprised Navy budget watchers Wednesday by telling the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee the Navy would in fact like two LCSs in FY-18.

    But Stiller had limited details, telling Inside Defense after the hearing she only learned earlier that day the Office of Management and Budget would support the buying a second LCS. Asked how the Navy would pay for it, Stiller said she didn't have that information.

    Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, attributed the problem to a disconnect between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and OMB.

    "The Navy knew there were industrial base concerns with only buying one LCS in FY-18, but was told by OSD not to address modernization in this budget and to focus on readiness," Clark, a former Navy official, told Inside Defense in an email. "Therefore, the Navy stayed with the shipbuilding plan that was published in the FY-17 budget, which had one LCS in FY-18."

    But the decision created problems for the Trump administration, which does not want shipyards laying off workers during a promised naval buildup, Clark wrote.

    "OMB therefore told OSD and the Navy to tell Congress that DOD would reevaluate the LCS number for FY-18 to ensure the LCS shipyards remain viable for the planned FY-20 frigate competition," he wrote. "This was something the Navy intended to do anyway, and OSD and OMB should have simply addressed it upfront in the budget documents and briefs."

    Several experts told Inside Defense changing the budget so quickly after making a request to Congress is unprecedented.

    "This is the fastest de facto budget amendment I can recall, at least for the Navy programs that I cover," Ronald O'Rourke, naval forces analyst for the Congressional Research Service, wrote in a May 25 statement to Inside Defense. "The Navy might now be working to identify, within its FY-18 budget top line, the funding needed for the second ship. The Navy states that the net difference in cost between a one-ship LCS buy in FY-18 and a two-ship LCS buy in FY-18 is $541 million."

    A congressional source said only including one LCS in the original budget was the most surprising part of the Navy's actions.

    "In light of the president's priorities in helping the rust belt states and other states that voted for him in particular and the key role Wisconsin had in the election, I had expected to see three LCSs in the budget," the congressional source said. "So, for this change to take place so quickly after the budget release made it more exciting, but not in and of itself surprising."

    Before the FY-18 budget was released, some lawmakers were sounding alarm bells about fully funding three LCSs.

    Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee member Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) penned a letter to President Trump before the budget was released. Baldwin's state is home to Marinette Marine. House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee member Bradley Byrne (R-AL), whose district is home to shipbuilder Austal USA, has made multiple visits to the White House pushing for three ships in the FY-18 budget request.

    "The decision to add another ship will also fuel the ongoing debate between LCS advocates and LCS critics in general and on Capitol Hill in particular, especially since the decision to move to the frigate has now been delayed to 2020," the congressional source said. "It inevitably means we will buy more of the types of ships that the Navy does not find as useful as a new frigate (otherwise we wouldn't be switching to a frigate), but [Chief of Naval Operations] Adm. [John] Richardson and [acting Navy] Secretary [Sean] Stackley are right in that there is value in keeping those production lines hot and operating efficiently for the future frigate program."

    Bryan McGrath, managing director of the Ferrybridge Group and an analyst at the Hudson Institute, told Inside Defense there is confusion at the Pentagon "about how fast and how protective the politics should be of building a 355-ship Navy."

    "I think the Navy, and specifically [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], believed putting the budget forward with one LCS [was] playing chicken with the Congress and the Congress would just add ships," he said. "Why would they spend the money in our budget when it could be added later?"

    However, the outcry from lawmakers and others meant the White House came "under withering pressure" to fund LCS, McGrath said. "The optics were terrible."

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    Last edited by JRT; 08 Jun 17, at 20:31.
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  12. #1242
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    Navy has not identified offset to pay for second Littoral Combat Ship

    6/2/2017
    Inside Defense

    The Navy has not identified a budget offset to pay for a second Littoral Combat Ship in the fiscal year 2018 request and does not plan to do so until July, Inside Defense has learned.

    Shortly after the FY-18 budget was released, a Pentagon official said the Office of Management and Budget was moving to add a second LCS, Inside Defense previously reported.

    "No identification of the offset has been made at this time," Navy spokeswoman Lt. Kara Yingling told Inside Defense May 31.

    A source with knowledge of the program told Inside Defense the service does not intend to identify an offset until July unless Congress or the Office of the Secretary of Defense applies pressure. Yingling declined to comment on the timing.
    By July, the majority of the congressional defense committees will have marked versions of both the appropriations and authorization bills.

    The last-minute decision to add another LCS came as a surprise to the Navy. Allison Stiller, performing the duties of the Navy acquisition executive, told Inside Defense after a May 24 House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing she only learned earlier that day OMB would support purchasing a second LCS.

    Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, attributed the problem to a disconnect between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and OMB.

    "The Navy knew there were industrial base concerns with only buying one LCS in FY-18, but was told by OSD not to address modernization in this budget and to focus on readiness," Clark, a former Navy official, wrote in an email. "Therefore, the Navy stayed with the shipbuilding plan that was published in the FY-17 budget, which had one LCS in FY-18."

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  13. #1243
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    Navy identifies postponed aircraft carrier midlife refueling as LCS budget offset

    6/7/2017
    Inside Defense

    The Navy has identified a postponed aircraft carrier midlife refueling as a way to offset the cost of a second Littoral Combat Ship in the fiscal year 2018 request, multiple sources confirmed to Inside Defense.

    In a surprise turn last month, the Navy released a budget that included only one LCS, but -- a day later -- indicated the Office of Management and Budget would support a second LCS in FY-18.

    Multiple sources with knowledge of the program told Inside Defense the Navy intends to propose that refueling and complex overhaul funds be used to pay for the second LCS.

    The Navy has already opted to postpone the multibillion-dollar midlife refueling of the John C. Stennis (CVN-74) by 10 months because of fleet needs and the workload at Newport News Shipbuilding, Inside Defense previously reported.

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  14. #1244
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Today at the commissioning of an LCS, the speakers included Nancy Pelosi, Jill Biden and Hillary Satan herself! Satan was reportedly paid to be there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Today at the commissioning of an LCS, the speakers included Nancy Pelosi, Jill Biden and Hillary Satan herself! Satan was reportedly paid to be there.
    I'm guessing it was impressive to see them swoop in on their brooms.
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