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Thread: New Navy FFG(X) RFI released

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    The LRASM which is due to replace the Harpoon is a subsonic missile based on the JASSM-ER. I don't honestly think we'll really see Western navies embrace supersonic AShMs and even opponents won't use them widely.

    True, but you have to think of them when designing defences.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    I believe we were discussing an LCS based FFG that incorporates VLS cells. (16 or so) So presumably a few SM-6 and quad packed ESSMs would be on hand.
    Right, my bad. But you still have a very expensive aluminim hull rigged for high speed (for reasons)...

  2. #32
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    Right, my bad. But you still have a very expensive aluminim hull rigged for high speed (for reasons)...
    I tend to agree with you and I believe that a FFG based on the Legend class NSC makes the most sense from a financial point of view in the ability to buy more hulls to have a presence in the most places at once, but I also think an LCS based design would be more survivable than people give it credit for.

    I imagine it a lot like an A-10 vs an F-16. The A-10 can take more of a pounding and survive, but the F-16 is less likely to be hit in the first place. At the end of the day, an A-10 that got shot up and made it back home is still sitting on the sidelines in a depot for months while the F-16 that evaded attack is back out there the next day bringing the pain.

  3. #33
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    [QUOTE=SteveDaPirate;1036069]I think this is a debatable point.

    You're right. It's a debatable point. Don't forget, the Samuel Roberts hit a mine in the gulf and got home under her own power. Although out of the fight, she lived to fight another day. I submit that almost any ship hit by an ASM or mine is probably hors de combat for a period of time, but for the ship or crew to have a chance to survive, the ship has to stay afloat.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    I imagine it a lot like an A-10 vs an F-16. The A-10 can take more of a pounding and survive, but the F-16 is less likely to be hit in the first place. At the end of the day, an A-10 that got shot up and made it back home is still sitting on the sidelines in a depot for months while the F-16 that evaded attack is back out there the next day bringing the pain.
    Both are robust aircraft. The A_10 is built like any other aircraft, aluminum construction. The cockpit is well armored, that is for survivability of the pilot. Doesn't beef up the airframe or control surfaces. The F-16 can perform 9G positive turns if an A-10 could perform the same 9G turn the aircraft would suffer structural damage most likely failure.

    No aircraft wants to get hit. In the Gulf War 3, EF-111 and a B-52 were struck by missiles fired from Migs and returned.

    In Iraq, after about 6 A-10 loses (31% of US air losses) the F-16 was tasked with the A-10 role. F-16 Smart airplane dumb bomb higher altitude less time being shot at. Flying low and slow in the envelope of MANPADS and AAA/EAD is hazardous. Look at all the A-10's A-4s and Su-25 losses.
    Last edited by Dazed; 21 Feb 18, at 07:25.

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    One problem with that comparison: both the A-10 and F-16 go into their roles properly armed and equiped. Not so the standard LCS...

  6. #36
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazed View Post
    F-16 Smart airplane dumb bomb higher altitude less time being shot at. Flying low and slow in the envelope of MANPADS and AAA/EAD is hazardous. Look at all the A-10's A-4s and Su-25 losses.
    This is kind of the point I was thinking of regarding the LCS and it's combination of high speed and large aviation facilities.

    It can move in quickly to hit a target with it's helicopters then get the hell out of dodge before anything big and nasty has a chance to respond. It can stay well over the horizon at standoff range and allow it's aircraft to drop mines, fire missiles, or launch torpedoes without ever endangering the ship itself.

    It's a fast little helicopter carrier really, and I think helicopters are pretty darn good at conducting most of the missions the USN requires. They can:

    • Conduct AEW and picketing
    • Hunt for Subs
    • Launch torpedos
    • Fire anti-ship missiles
    • Clear mines
    • Drop mines
    • Shred small attack boats
    • Conduct recon
    • Send targeting data to other ships


    Most importantly, they can do all this 100+ miles from the ship they call home, and they can keep relatively safe by sea skimming and briefly popping up to take a look around before ducking down and hiding again.

  7. #37
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Five finalist designs selected

    The Navy has selected five designs for consideration. USNI has a good article on the five:

    -Austral USA with a version of the Independence class LCS
    -Fincantieri Marinette Marine submitted a version of their FREMM frigate. It's also a sub on the LockMart Freedom bid
    -General Dynamics Bath Iron Works submitted a version of the Spanish Navantia Álvaro de Bazán-class F100 Frigate
    -Ingalls submitted a version of the USCG Legend cutter
    -Lockheed Martin submitted a version of the Freedom LCS frigate

    Each company gets a $15M contract to further develop their bid:

    Austal USA LLC, Mobile, Alabama, is being awarded a $14,999,969 firm-fixed-price contract for Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) conceptual design. Austal will be maturing their proposed ship design to meet the FFG(X) system specification. The conceptual design effort will inform the final specifications that will be used for the detail design and construction request for proposal that will deliver the required capability for FFG(X). The conceptual design phase will reduce cost, schedule, and performance risk for the follow-on detail design and construction contract. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $21,399,022.
    I personally hope that neither of the LCS-based designs make it further than this stage. The FREMM and F100 frigates look like nice designs, we'll have to see how the acquisition system screws them up.

  8. #38
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    One problem with that comparison: both the A-10 and F-16 go into their roles properly armed and equiped. Not so the standard LCS...
    Insufficient investment into the mission-modules shouldn't paint the LCS itself in a poor light.

    And what is the role of the LCS?

    The Navy asked for a fast, stealthy, little assault ship that could operate in shallow waters, and that's what they got. If they wanted an FFG from the get go they shouldn't have asked for Corvettes.

    On the other hand, the FFG proposal based on the LCS adds VLS cells and a suitable radar among other things, so that it no longer has a glaring weakness against fixed wing aviation and can use SM-6/ESSM for area defense.

  9. #39
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    This is kind of the point I was thinking of regarding the LCS and it's combination of high speed and large aviation facilities.

    It can move in quickly to hit a target with it's helicopters then get the hell out of dodge before anything big and nasty has a chance to respond. It can stay well over the horizon at standoff range and allow it's aircraft to drop mines, fire missiles, or launch torpedoes without ever endangering the ship itself.

    It's a fast little helicopter carrier really, and I think helicopters are pretty darn good at conducting most of the missions the USN requires. They can:

    • Conduct AEW and picketing
    • Hunt for Subs
    • Launch torpedos
    • Fire anti-ship missiles
    • Clear mines
    • Drop mines
    • Shred small attack boats
    • Conduct recon
    • Send targeting data to other ships


    Most importantly, they can do all this 100+ miles from the ship they call home, and they can keep relatively safe by sea skimming and briefly popping up to take a look around before ducking down and hiding again.
    The problem with this is that helos are very fragile and at sea, there isn't a handy hill or treeline to duck behind if a SAM comes your way. Not all of the LCS going to sea get helo dets, in fact I believe that more often they do not. UAVs are more common. Most Navy helos are not equipped for ASW warfare, that's a hard skill to master. If it is a ASW bird, then you will not want to hazard it taking pot shots at small craft with it's door gun (if that is even an option, I'm not knowledgeable enough about their helos.)

  10. #40
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    The FREMM and F100 frigates look like nice designs, we'll have to see how the acquisition system screws them up.
    I'd agree that those two are the most capable designs submitted, but their designs seem to overlap a lot with DDGs, and we have quite the stockpile of those already. They also suffer from the "made in Europe" stigma.

    My money is on the Ingalls bid.

    Of course being the USN we all know and love, they'll probably decide to buy 3 copies of 4 different designs then scrap the whole project...

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    Insufficient investment into the mission-modules shouldn't paint the LCS itself in a poor light.
    The problem aren't the modules, it's the fact that the baseline LCS is virtually defenceless. You can't very well get caught doing role X when attacked by an enemy and say "Hey, hold up, I left my appropriate gear at home, brb"...

    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    The problem with this is that helos are very fragile and at sea, there isn't a handy hill or treeline to duck behind if a SAM comes your way. Not all of the LCS going to sea get helo dets, in fact I believe that more often they do not. UAVs are more common. Most Navy helos are not equipped for ASW warfare, that's a hard skill to master. If it is a ASW bird, then you will not want to hazard it taking pot shots at small craft with it's door gun (if that is even an option, I'm not knowledgeable enough about their helos.)
    Not to mention that helos take time to set up, launch and deploy. And are useless in air defence...

  12. #42
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    The problem with this is that helos are very fragile and at sea, there isn't a handy hill or treeline to duck behind if a SAM comes your way. Not all of the LCS going to sea get helo dets, in fact I believe that more often they do not. UAVs are more common. Most Navy helos are not equipped for ASW warfare, that's a hard skill to master. If it is a ASW bird, then you will not want to hazard it taking pot shots at small craft with it's door gun (if that is even an option, I'm not knowledgeable enough about their helos.)
    True enough, but I'd counter that the LCS is supposed to be darting around in brown water among little islands and such while the big boys handle the heavy lifting at sea. I think the ability to mix and match Helos and UAV as desired is a big plus, but I know the Independence class can fit 2 MH-60s in the hangar and another 2 on the flight deck, so it could presumably operate even more aircraft if they are smaller UAVs or Cobras.

    When it comes to disposing of small craft, I think the popular option has become the APKWS II that slaps a laser guidance kit on Hydra rockets. That gives helicopters a light weight precision munition that can reach out about 3 miles to dispose of about any lightly armored target while letting them carry a lot more shots than they could with Hellfires.

  13. #43
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    Not to mention that helos take time to set up, launch and deploy. And are useless in air defence...
    Which is why the FFG proposal adds VLS cells.

    I think there's a good argument to be made that they should have asked for that in the original design requirements, but the USN wanted more of an assault ship than a frigate.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    True enough, but I'd counter that the LCS is supposed to be darting around in brown water among little islands and such while the big boys handle the heavy lifting at sea. I think the ability to mix and match Helos and UAV as desired is a big plus, but I know the Independence class can fit 2 MH-60s in the hangar and another 2 on the flight deck, so it could presumably operate even more aircraft if they are smaller UAVs or Cobras.

    When it comes to disposing of small craft, I think the popular option has become the APKWS II that slaps a laser guidance kit on Hydra rockets. That gives helicopters a light weight precision munition that can reach out about 3 miles to dispose of about any lightly armored target while letting them carry a lot more shots than they could with Hellfires.
    All nice ideas, but mixing different varieties of helos increases the logistics footprint on the ship. You'd need entirely different maintenance crews, spares, etc. It'd work for a day or two, but not longer than that. Army birds are not navalized and that environment will quickly ruin them.

    A laser guidance kit requires a laser and most helos do not have this if it isn't in their mission set. Integrating one is not a short or cheap process.

    Back in the day, DDs darted around the islands when the shooting started, but today, no-one does that anymore. You put your platform on a reef and your career is done.

  15. #45
    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    The Navy has selected five designs for consideration.
    -Ingalls submitted a version of the USCG Legend cutter
    I find it interesting that no picture or model was presented with their bid. Is there a chance it isn't based on the Legend-class hull?

    Regardless I think the Ingalls design is the right choice for a frigate for the USN. The European designs are approaching destroyer classifications, while the LCS designs are still compromised from the LCS design requirements.

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