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Thread: New Navy FFG(X) RFI released

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    New Navy FFG(X) RFI released

    The Navy has finally released a RFI for a new FFG(X) and Cdr Sal has a critique and breakdown of the request.

    As if answering our plea from last month, one of our three “X” seems to be moving along with the RFI just pushed out for FFG(X).

    It is a strange document in that you can almost see the claw marks of advocates of the failed LCS program scratching through the project. I’ll get to that in a bit, but let’s look at some of the highlights.
    It sounds like the RFI is looking to take an existing design and modify it as required to meet USN needs, not a bad approach as there are some good frigate designs on the water right now and the Navy needs something quickly other than the LCS to bulk up the Fleet. Cdr Sal also looks at some existing ship classes and compares them to the requirements in the RFI and puts it in a nice easy-to-read table.

    Here's the RFI itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    Here's the RFI itself.
    The "Notional Major Weapons Systems" aims for one Seahawk, only SeaRAM (althought possible Seasparrow/Standard is mentioned) and a 57mm gun, with SSMs in canisters. This is a pretty standard list for a light frigate, so imho it looks to be on the right path. And 28knots speed? Hooray for that, finally sanity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    It sounds like the RFI is looking to take an existing design and modify it as required to meet USN needs
    Beyond the two LCS designs are there actually any? It's not exactly like US shipbuilders play any role ... at all ... in the frigate market. I mean, otherwise, just procure some MMSC from LM.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    This is a pretty standard list for a light frigate
    It's a standard list for a light to medium corvette...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    The "Notional Major Weapons Systems" aims for one Seahawk, only SeaRAM (althought possible Seasparrow/Standard is mentioned) and a 57mm gun, with SSMs in canisters. This is a pretty standard list for a light frigate, so imho it looks to be on the right path. And 28knots speed? Hooray for that, finally sanity.
    I dislike growth for growth's sake, but something bigger than 57mm is certainly (IHMO anyways) called for. 57mm doesn't have the range or hitting power in today's naval environment. As the good Cdr Sal mentions, it may be the LCS crowd putting in their 2 cents to get their FF LCS variant into the mix. Totally agree with the min 28knot requirement!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Beyond the two LCS designs are there actually any? It's not exactly like US shipbuilders play any role ... at all ... in the frigate market. I mean, otherwise, just procure some MMSC from LM.
    I'd stay away from anything with an LCS lineage, the concept has run into too many problems that they will spend years and much $$ fixing. From the LM website,
    The MMSC takes the proven capabilities of the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship and the inherent flexibility of the Freedom-variant hull to meet the unique maritime requirements of international navies.
    I had to laugh at the proven capabilities bit. I'm sure the LCS forward deployed have done some good things that I haven't heard of, but they have spent a lot of time tied up at the pier getting bits and pieces fixed. Cut the lifeline and move on!

    License a foreign design, put some of our combat systems into it, and purchase the buy button. Yep, the details are what will kill you and integration, particularly onto a new platform, will be painful. However, there are several frigate-classes that have integrated Aegis, so the lessons learned their can be employed to put it into the new class (or just license build one of those classes...)

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    Just go ahead and buy some Meko A200. South Africa and Algeria seem to be plenty happy with them. You could buy two or three for the price of a LCS. Even if of course their armament exceeds the stated specs by like 100-150%...

    Note: Seriously. Algeria paid 400 million Euro for two Meko A-200AN. 27 knots top (... officially, less official it's around 31-32), 6,000 nm at 18 knots (or 8,000 at 16 nm); 127mm Vulcano for main gun, 16 (!) RBS15 Mk3, 32-cell VLS for Umkhonto-IR, ASW torpedo tubes and a pair of 30mm; radar suite is equivalent to LCS/MMSC (Sea Giraffe AMB + CEROS200). South-African A-200SAN version basically has a different sensor suite (of about the same capabilities) and half the armament. Crew number on the South-African version is 124 including air crew for two helicopters.

    Oh, and they're on the lighter side of frigate-sized. 3700 tons, 121m length.
    Last edited by kato; 12 Jul 17, at 19:51.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Just go ahead and buy some Meko A200. South Africa and Algeria seem to be plenty happy with them. You could buy two or three for the price of a LCS. Even if of course their armament exceeds the stated specs by like 100-150%...

    Note: Seriously. Algeria paid 400 million Euro for two Meko A-200AN. 27 knots top (... officially, less official it's around 31-32), 6,000 nm at 18 knots (or 8,000 at 16 nm); 127mm Vulcano for main gun, 16 (!) RBS15 Mk3, 32-cell VLS for Umkhonto-IR, ASW torpedo tubes and a pair of 30mm; radar suite is equivalent to LCS/MMSC (Sea Giraffe AMB + CEROS200). South-African A-200SAN version basically has a different sensor suite (of about the same capabilities) and half the armament. Crew number on the South-African version is 124 including air crew for two helicopters.

    Oh, and they're on the lighter side of frigate-sized. 3700 tons, 121m length.
    You can do this math with pretty much any EU-built frigate...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    You can do this math with pretty much any EU-built frigate...
    The EU has seemed to designed a nice crop of frigates over the last 20 years or so. Wish we could learn some of their lessons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    The EU has seemed to designed a nice crop of frigates over the last 20 years or so. Wish we could learn some of their lessons.
    It would save the US a ton of money, while still getting the job done...

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    Gibbs & Cox did pander a "light frigate" design a couple years ago that probably fits the specs, so at least there's some possible domestic competition for MMSC and NSC.

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    Coast Guard Design for Navy Frigate? It’s Doable, Zukunft Says

    HOPE HODGE SECK
    AUGUST 3, 2017


    As the Navy searches for the best design for its future frigate, some are promoting an option based on the Coast Guard’s national security cutter.

    And while Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft isn’t directly weighing in on the discussion, he has plenty to say about the ship in question.

    At an event this week organized by the U.S. Naval Institute and held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Zukunft recounted a “sea story” that he has often retold in public: How the new Coast Guard cutter Hamilton, on its 2016 maiden deployment, more than paid for itself with a remarkable 13 major drug interdictions that resulted in the confiscation of a total of nearly $1 billion worth of cocaine.

    On the same deployment, the Hamilton conducted medical evacuations from Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and intercepted hundreds of migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally from Cuba.

    “This is a ship that will be in service 30, 40 years from now,” Zukunft said. “So I would say that’s a pretty good return on investment. There were no hiccups. We didn’t have to tow her back in. It was a great maiden voyage.”

    Nearly a decade after the commissioning of the Navy’s first littoral combat ship in 2008, the class has continued to face criticism over its survivability and design.

    Last year, the Navy ordered major changes to engineer training and the LCS deployment strategy after four of the then-six ships in service suffered significant engineering casualties within 12 months of each other.

    The Navy had been set to base its future frigate on the LCS design but, in early July, announced that it would reopen analysis, putting out a request to industry for possible frigate designs.

    A Navy spokesman, Lt. Seth Clarke, said the decision was a result of changes to the operational environment.

    “We have witnessed increasing competition for sea control, an increasingly complex operating environment, and an emphasis on Distributed Maritime Operations,” he told Military.com in a statement.

    If the service pursues a design based on the national security cutter — a proposal being put forward by shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries — the concept will have to be significantly reworked in order to accommodate weapons and defenses for high-end naval warfare.

    But that “can certainly be done,” Zukunft said.

    “Many of the systems on there right now are Navy-type, Navy-owned,” he said. “It’s one of these national security cutters that is the flagship for the surface action group for the [biennial] Rim of the Pacific exercise. So we’re used to interoperability with the Navy as well.”

    To date, however, no formal conversations have taken place between the Coast Guard and Navy about the design, Zukunft said.

    The Navy is looking to award a contract for design and construction in fiscal 2020. Link
    ____________

    *Bashes head against nearest wall*
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    on its 2016 maiden deployment, more than paid for itself with a remarkable 13 major drug interdictions that resulted in the confiscation of a total of nearly $1 billion worth of cocaine.
    WOW! Really!? Talk about lucky runs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    WOW! Really!? Talk about lucky runs!
    I suspect "luck" in this case was in fact really good intel.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I suspect "luck" in this case was in fact really good intel.
    Probably. Still a bit of good luck. I suspect someone tried to ship too much... sugar... too fast...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I suspect "luck" in this case was in fact really good intel.
    Nah, doesn't have to be. It's more creative accounting and advertising.

    https://news.usni.org/2017/01/11/coa...administration
    instead cites the actual amount that Zukunft talked about - 26 tons. By a variety of sources - based on different street prices this is then estimated at 717 million (actual coast guard figure), one billion, two billion...

    Those 26 tons (26.5 tons actually) were not seized by the Hamilton though - they were merely brought ashore in the US by her. Hamilton herself according to
    https://www.workboat.com/news/govern...caine-florida/
    seized 10.3 tons in her 11 seizure operations (which, using the coast guard figure, would be worth about 279 million).

    The amount isn't that unusual - and collecting cocaine on a single boat isn't special either; in March for example Hamilton unloaded 18.5 tons from the next 10-week round of operations of which she herself had seized around 5.5 tons; the haul before the 26.5 ton round was brought ashore by USCG Waesche and was 20 tons. During the entire year of 2016, the USCG confiscated about 208 tons of cocaine; 2015 was a low year at only 125 tons.

    They typically officially estimate at around 27-28 million USD per (US) ton or around 30,000 USD per kg - which is actually the upper end of street prices in the southern state, the lower end is two thirds that. Colombian street price is around 1800 USD per kg, which would place Hamilton's 26.5-ton load at 43 million USD worth in procurement...


    On a side note, does the USCG know that Zukunft is the german word for future?

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