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    Littoral Combat Ships

    Two prototypes of LCS - Freedom and Independence classes - are now under production in the USA. Do they mean to continue with manufacturing both types in parallel or decision in favour of one of them will be taken some day?

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    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Fan View Post
    Two prototypes of LCS - Freedom and Independence classes - are now under production in the USA. Do they mean to continue with manufacturing both types in parallel or decision in favour of one of them will be taken some day?
    It was always my understanding that 2 ships from each class were authorizaed for construction. After trials, one class of ship was to be chosen as the LCS platform, and ~50 of them were to be delivered. However, both designs were so overbudget and behind schedule, that the Navy chose to finish only one of each class, halting construction on both of the second production units.

    In my opinion, the LCS is a silly concept, and they should have been looking at a more proper Frigate replacement for the Perry-class right from the start. Such a class would have replaced and added to the capabilities of the Perry-class, and performed the littoral missions being placed on the LCS. Maybe they will realize this before they build 50 high-speed, no weapon corvettes which I see as useless.

    Does anyone know how the Navy is looking at the program and the ships now that they've had some time in the water?

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    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    I know the US Navy really like the Swedish Visby-class ships, but they aren't willing to go so far as to actually buy any from the Swedes (that would be un-American!), so they're basically trying to find a US manufacturer who will build Visby-type ships in the US.
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    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
    I know the US Navy really like the Swedish Visby-class ships, but they aren't willing to go so far as to actually buy any from the Swedes (that would be un-American!), so they're basically trying to find a US manufacturer who will build Visby-type ships in the US.
    Stich, do you mean the USN is trying to replicate the Visby in it's LCS designs, or that they don't like the current LCS designs and are trying to come up with something similar to the Visby now?

    The Visby-class seems to accomplish the littoral patrol mission quite well, and that's the only thing the LCS designs strike me as doing well, the whole mission module thing never never sat well with me, and I struggle to see these ships being effective in other missions, besides what an onboard SH-60R can provide of course.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    LCS is not really a stupid concept. The implementation is.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor BenRoethig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    LCS is not really a stupid concept. The implementation is.
    I agree. They need a small, fast ship for littoral ops and mine hunting and a frigate replacement. They combined them into one and god a vessel that's not very going at being either.
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    Senior Contributor Rumrunner's Avatar
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    The LCS Independence put to sea a few days ago on builders trials and the Freedom (LCS-1) is undergoing testing at present off Norfolk and the USEC before it makes the final trip over to San Diego.

    I for one am glad to see the USN investing back into brown and green water operations. Too many years spent trailing Soviet subs and surface craft in the open ocean have left the littoral waters aspect of the modern USN more or less uncovered. Sure the Cyclone Class can fill the role, but having been all over one during fleetweek here in NYC, they are little more than fast gunboats, with no ASW or advanced technologies and securing large Littoral waters is not their intended purpose.

    Plus, the Independence just looks bad-ass. Aside from the dinky little gun on the bow.
    Last edited by Rumrunner; 15 Jul 09, at 19:15. Reason: removed huge pic

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    Hopefully this wont garner the dead kitten award, but here's some pics of the USS Freedom getting flight deck qualifications.

    Attachment 16371
    You know JJ, Him could do it....

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    I wonder if there's any possibility of a stretched LCS? She's wider than a lot of much longer ships, so lateral stability shouldn't be too much of an issue. I suppose there might be problems with the weird hull designs they used, though. The gap between LCS and the Burkes is just so huge. It would be nice to have something a little bit in between.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
    I wonder if there's any possibility of a stretched LCS? She's wider than a lot of much longer ships, so lateral stability shouldn't be too much of an issue. I suppose there might be problems with the weird hull designs they used, though. The gap between LCS and the Burkes is just so huge. It would be nice to have something a little bit in between.
    I think that was the whole point. The navy found out fewer, bigger hulls with more capability is actually cheaper than more intermediate hulls with less capability.

    Of course I could be way wrong. But that was the impression I got.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I think that was the whole point. The navy found out fewer, bigger hulls with more capability is actually cheaper than more intermediate hulls with less capability.
    I've always struggled with this concept. Building cheaper less capable vessels means you can build more of them for the same cost as fewer 'high-end' ships. However, the high-end ships can be deployed to any location, to do any mission and are more survivable. I don't know what the optimum solution is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    I've always struggled with this concept. Building cheaper less capable vessels means you can build more of them for the same cost as fewer 'high-end' ships. However, the high-end ships can be deployed to any location, to do any mission and are more survivable. I don't know what the optimum solution is.


    A few reasons you don't need top of the line supercapable expensive toys for everything. Somolia and afgahnistan are perfect examples of this. A top notch MBTisn't needed in afgahnistan, Super capable fighter bombers aren't needed. You do want to have a few armoured vechiles and some airsupport around though. The piracy issue is another case, its not like they are holding these ships hostage with kirovs that you would need a fully capable navy to take on, honestly a decent patrol craft from any navy would wipe up the pirates on encountering it. The problem is having a hull in the water where the problem is. Thats why budget hulls are made.

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    My 0.02USD:

    ~1/3 of the fleet is deployed at any given time, and there's at least 3 CVBGs to cover the Atlantic, Pacific, and Persian Gulf.

    At least 6 DDGs & 2 SSNs per CVBG means you need:
    54 DDGs
    18 SSNs

    Just for the CVBGs. Add in SSNs doing their missions, Marine ships that need escort, that it's nice to have some slack and a few independent surface groups, and you can see why the Fleet is the size it is.

    If your limited by hulls, and money to pay their crews, you naturally would prefer that the ships are capable of doing these jobs in an effective manner. Unused capability inherently being expensive, naturally encourages multi-mission capability.

    FFGs as they are now classed are kind of like filler to get the extra capability for missions like convoy escort, beyond these other critical missions. To avoid having unused capability, and cover missions not handled by the other assets there's naturally a desire to make them multi-mission in their own way. I see the LCS as an attempt follow those incentives, but don't feel informed enough on particulars to say whether it's good or not.

    The need for speed, seems dubious to me given boats you'd need to worry about would tend to be able to be shot up by a helicopter they could never outrun, to me anyway. Could be wrong.

    Nav weaps has only nice things to say about the 57mm mount verse the old 75mm mounts on the Perrys, and it's not exactly like they're that badly armed for their mission. You wouldn't leave one alone without a DDG against anything serious, but I'm not sure why you'd want to to invest in the sensor packages and otherwise to attempt to make it into a DDG-lite.
    Last edited by FOG3; 02 Oct 09, at 01:01.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
    I wonder if there's any possibility of a stretched LCS? She's wider than a lot of much longer ships, so lateral stability shouldn't be too much of an issue. I suppose there might be problems with the weird hull designs they used, though. The gap between LCS and the Burkes is just so huge. It would be nice to have something a little bit in between.
    I have a feeling thats why there are two active LCS designs going at the same time. Whichever proves to be a better LCS vessel goes into full time production while the other is either redesigned or put back on the rack for later use when the Perrys run out of steam. I would think that the USS Freedom's hull would be much easier to stretch out or redesign than the USS Independance's tri-hull catamaran though.

    If a redesigned longer version of either LCS comes along down the road I would hope the designers do better work than the Coast Guard did with their 110ft to 123ft Island Class Patrol Boat conversions
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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Just passing her sea trials. A tri-hull. This is LCS 2 The USS Independence. Rumor holds she can see the better side of 60 knots

    LCS 2 begins sea trials after 3-day delay

    By Philip Ewing - Staff writer
    Posted : Friday Jul 3, 2009 9:34:28 EDT

    The Navy’s second littoral combat ship, Independence, put to sea for the first time Thursday for builder’s trials, three days later than scheduled after its shipyard crew dealt with early engineering problems.

    The aluminum trimaran was scheduled to spend four days at sea testing its engines and equipment, including a full-power run that will demonstrate whether the ship can get up to the same high speeds as its steel-and-aluminum counterpart, Freedom.

    Jim DeMartini, a spokesman for shipbuilder General Dynamics, would not give any information about what technical problems held up Independence’s builder’s trials, which were originally slated to begin Monday.

    He told Navy Times on Monday that technicians heard unwelcome noises in one of the ship’s main propulsion diesels just after it had pushed away from its Mobile, Ala., pier, so they returned to the dock “out of an abundance of caution.” But after the start of trials was delayed again the next day, he said GD would no longer provide “interim updates” about the condition of the ship. Other than confirming Independence sailed Thursday, he gave no details about what had been repaired.

    “We’re just not going to make any statements until trials are over,” DeMartini said. The ship was underway on schedule on Thursday afternoon.

    The Navy has never fielded a warship like Independence, and so engineers are eager to observe how the ship performs at sea. Although it is designed to accept the same interchangeable sub, mine and surface target-hunting equipment as Freedom, LCS 2’s singular shape and outrigger hulls are supposed to help it ride smoothly in rough seas. Unlike Freedom, which planes over the waves like a Jet Ski, Independence is built with a bulbous bow to slice through the surface.

    Another dynamic technicians will be watching is how Independence uses its fuel. Both LCS configurations have combined diesel and gas turbine power plants, designed to run four engines together to achieve their high sprint speeds. But the tradeoff for Freedom in early tests has been that it guzzles fuel; its Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines are much larger than the General Electric LM2500 turbines that drive most Navy surface combatants. Independence has LM2500s, so it’s possible the Navy’s long experience with them will mean sailors can run the ship more efficiently. Or not.

    Independence and Freedom are both more than a year late and at least 100 percent over budget. The ships were pitched to Congress at a price of about $220 million each, but Navy budget documents for fiscal 2010 put the cost for Independence at about $704 million and for Freedom at about $637 million.

    Freedom, which was commissioned in November, is undergoing testing at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The Navy hopes to take delivery of Independence this summer and commission it this fall.

    Test run
    Independence was set to spend four days at sea conducting tests of its engineering plant and other onboard systems. Weapons, most sensors and the ship’s waterborne mission area — from which it will launch and recover unmanned vehicles — will be tested on later outings.

    During builder’s trials, Independence likely will cruise on its diesels only, then on its gas turbines only, then run all four engines together on a high-speed full-power run. Standard builder’s trial demonstrations also include running the ship at full power astern; a “crash-back” drill, in which the ship goes from full ahead to full astern; high-speed turns; and other tests.

    Engineers also will watch how the ship’s unique aluminum hull behaves at high speeds and in rough seas.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 30 Sep 09, at 19:35.
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