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Littoral Combat Ships

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  • I wonder how much damage China's operatives in Panama will inflict on LCS-10 during passge thru the canal.

    Think they might have enough foresight to bring some big fenders this time?


    • Navy Finds $500 Million for a Second Littoral Combat Ship in FY2018

      by Anthony Capaccio
      ‎June‎ ‎19‎, ‎2017‎
      Bloomberg Politics

      The U.S. Navy has found $500 million to buy a second Littoral Combat Ship in next year’s budget after scrounging that was required because the vessel was left out of the Trump administration’s proposed budget sent to Congress last month.

      About $325 million will be freed up because the Navy has delayed the overhaul of an aircraft carrier that involves refueling its two nuclear power cores, according to officials who asked not to be identified before the White House will send the proposed budget amendment to Congress as soon as this week. An additional $100 million will be shifted from the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track program for installation on its F/A-18E/F fighters, and the rest from smaller programs.

      The Littoral Combat Ship, designed for missions in shallow coastal waters, has been criticized by the Pentagon’s testing office, the Government Accountability Office and internal Navy studies that have questioned its costs, small crew and potential vulnerability in combat. But it retains Navy support, and it would help President Donald Trump reach his pledge for a 350-ship Navy, up from today’s fleet of 275 vessels that can be deployed.

      Lawmakers added a third ship for the current year and are likely to back buying two in fiscal 2018 because that would guarantee shipyard work on both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship. One is built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in Wisconsin and the other by Austal Ltd. in Alabama.

      Finding Funds

      The budget that Trump sent to Congress included the Navy’s request for $636 million to buy one vessel. The White House Office of Management and Budget informed service officials after the submission that it would support a second vessel and asked the Navy to find funding for it.

      The Navy is delaying an overhaul on the USS John C. Stennis by about 10 months, “which would apparently shift the need for this funding from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019,” Ron O’Rourke, the naval analyst for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, said in an email.

      The Senate Armed Services Committee’s seapower panel has scheduled a hearing on Navy shipbuilding on Wednesday, where the Littoral Combat Ship plans are expected to be discussed. In addition, the House Armed Services Committee plans to start formal work this week on its version of the fiscal 2018 defense policy bill.

      “The printed budget request included one LCS because the facts and need for a second came to us so late in the process,” Meghan Burris, an OMB spokeswoman, said last month in explaining why a second ship wasn’t included. “We understand that Congress is moving quickly to put together FY18 bills, and wanted to get the change in front of them as quickly as possible.”

      Lieutenant Kara Yingling, a Navy spokeswoman, said the Navy wouldn’t comment on the new funding arrangements until the proposal is submitted to lawmakers.

      Picking One

      The Navy has said it’s important to maintain the workforces of both Lockheed and Austal until it’s ready to pick one of the contractors in mid-2020 to build a better-armed frigate as the successor to the planned fleet of as many as 30 Littoral Combat Ships.

      Even as the White House adds another Littoral Combat Ship, the GAO reported in an April assessment that “deliveries of almost all LCS under contract at both shipyards have been delayed several months, and in some cases close to a year or longer.”

      “Delays that have occurred for previously funded ships have resulted in a construction workload that extends into fiscal year 2020,” the GAO said.



      • A sobering report on the state of the whole program. Many of the prescribed testing protocols have been postponed or canceled because the Navy fears the ships will suffer damage or otherwise expect test failures.


        • Since I'm a new guy to the board, I cannot start a new thread. Since it's relevant here and likely to become a subject for some time, maybe someone would be interested to start a FFG(X) thread?


          • There are certainly some dam good FFG designs out there as alternatives the LCS. I'm sure there a few 'navy types' around who could do so.
            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.


            • Originally posted by thebard View Post
              Since I'm a new guy to the board, I cannot start a new thread. Since it's relevant here and likely to become a subject for some time, maybe someone would be interested to start a FFG(X) thread?
              Already done!

              Request for Information for New Navy FFG(X) released


              • LCS 18 Charleston has been christened.


                • Cascade of errors triggered leak debacle on USS Freedom (LCS-1)

                  Leadership failures, crew incompetence and bad advice about how to fix a simple leak doomed a key engine on the littoral combat ship Freedom during a high-profile 2016 mishap, a Navy probe found.

                  Completed on Oct. 4 and released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the investigative report portrays multiple, serious and systemic problems on the vessel and in the larger littoral combat ship program.

                  What began as a simple leak detected on July 11, 2016, triggered a weeklong series of problems, all of them exacerbated by lax shipboard standards, poor leadership and the faulty input of outside experts who should have known better, the report determined. “Some of this involved a crew making some bad mistakes. It started small but it never had to become a major engineering casualty,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman by telephone. “But it’s also important to look at this report in light of a large number of reforms that were made since then. The report reinforces the need for the changes that were already being identified to the (littoral combat ship) program and that were made after the incident and which continue to be made.”

                  Those reforms were kicked off by Coronado-based Vice Adm. Tom Rowden. The Naval Surface Forces commander has sought to overhaul how the warships are staffed, maintained and deployed to potentially wage war against increasingly capable 21st century enemies. Armed with the report’s initial findings, Rowden fired the Freedom’s skipper, Cmdr. Michael Wohnhaas, after losing confidence in his ability to command the vessel.

                  In a letter attached to the investigation, Rowden, called the destruction of the engine “completely preventable” — partly because Wohnhaas and an engineering department officer unnamed in the report hid from superiors the truth about the engine’s real condition.

                  Launched in 2006, the $670.4 million Freedom was the lead vessel in a futuristic fleet of nimble warships, but the program was plagued by cost overruns, design flaws, maintenance glitches and command snafus.

                  Its engine failure off the coast of Southern California during Rim of the Pacific war games drew renewed attention to the problems bedeviling the littoral combat ship fleet.
                  Held every two years off the coast of Hawaii, “RIMPAC” is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise and it garners widespread coverage by the international press.
                  In 2016, 26 nations sent 51 warships and submarines and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel to the maneuvers.

                  The Freedom’s problems began with a sudden loss of firemain pressure. That’s the system that feeds seawater to fireplugs, sprinklers and foam stations on a vessel in the event of a blaze.
                  Starting up a pump briefly restored the pressure but it fell when the device was shut off and sailors started snooping for the source of the leak.
                  They discovered flooding in the Main Machinery Room. Water was gushing out of a hole in a seawater pump that was attached to one of the propulsion diesel engines.
                  An unidentified crewman stoppered the gap with a plug and clamped it down, seemingly solving the leak problem but in reality setting in motion the decay that eventually would destroy the engine.

                  The hole was what’s called a “telltale drain” — a vent that allows mechanics to continuously monitor a system for leakage or building pressure -- but the crew confused it with a different hole.
                  By corking the vent and failing to isolate the engine’s seawater cooling system so that it didn’t contribute to more damage, pressure began to mount in the space between the pump and the engine’s crankcase and saltwater flowed into the engine sump — developments the crew failed to notice.

                  Seawater corrosion often ruins equipment, but engines can be saved if sailors take quick corrective action — draining the water and then restarting the engine as soon as possible after contamination occurs.
                  That should’ve started with the engineering department realizing the problem with the plug and removing it, but they didn’t, according to the report.
                  After shutting down the engine to figure out what was going wrong, they should’ve secured a different pump that gushes lube into the oil system prior to restarting it, but didn’t.
                  After the “galloping corrosion” of saltwater spread through the engine system, they should’ve inspected and properly flushed out the contamination with special lube, but they didn’t.
                  Instead of wielding a “questioning attitude” to challenge bad assumptions, locate the true source of the leak and correct the looming mechanical failure, they didn’t.
                  “Taken together, these failures demonstrate a departmental lack of knowledge of the engineering plant and of basic engineering fundamentals,” the report stated.

                  The crew was not well served by Navy and contractor engine specialists consulted by sailors after the Freedom returned briefly to the pier in San Diego.
                  They greenlighted a questionable method to flush the propulsion system and fix the damage, giving “false hope” to officers that the problem was solved, the probe determined.

                  Although ongoing tests taken of the oil continued to show extensive engine contamination, they were disregarded — partly because the Freedom’s commissioned engineering officer feared informing leaders with “no appetite” to withdraw the warship from the maneuvers.

                  After the Freedom’s unidentified senior enlisted engineer warned him that going to sea with a contaminated engine would destroy it, the officer took the oil test results to Cmdr. Wohnhaas, but the skipper never informed his superiors. That’s because he believed it was “crucially important” to make the maneuvers a success and, more proudly, to “deliver a ‘win’” — or at least avoid another littoral combat ship debacle — for the controversial procurement program, the probe found.

                  The Freedom’s engine troubles came at what the report called a “sensitive moment” in the program, following the late 2015 breakdown of the Milwaukee and the early 2016 damage to the Fort Worth, according to the report. And it also wasn’t the first time the Freedom fell victim to a leak. In late 2013, the warship experienced a similar seawater contamination casualty.

                  The Hawaii-based Pacific Fleet’s Schwegman called the skipper’s decision an example of “misguided goodness.” She said that his commanders deserved to know about the warship’s mechanical problems so that they, too, could make informed decisions about its participation in the war games. “In that moment, you need to make a command decision, but that was the wrong decision,” she said.

                  The report listed 16 recommendations to ensure the engine failure would never happen again. These reforms included restoring a shipboard culture on the Freedom of integrity, formality, procedural compliance, knowledge, questioning attitude and risk management. The report also called on the Navy to develop better procedures for sailors to stabilize engines contaminated by saltwater before they returned to port; retrain littoral combat ship crews on the fundamentals of mechanical seals and how to fix pump leaks.

                  Things like words. I have no words.
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                  • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                    Cascade of errors triggered leak debacle on USS Freedom (LCS-1)Things like words. I have no words.


                    • With all the scrutiny and wary eyes on the program related to design, cost, and effectiveness, it certainly doesn't help that the crew shot themselves in the foot this way. I have been a critic of the program but the Navy has made great strides recently to get this program on track.


                      • USS Little Rock is trapped in Montreal.



                          This post has been updated to note that USS Little Rock will arrive in Mayport this week.

                          NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The Navy may not deploy any of its Littoral Combat Ships this year despite previous plans to deploy one to the Middle East and two to Singapore in 2018, due to a confluence of maintenance availabilities that has most of the LCS fleet sidelined this year.

                          Three of the Navy’s four original LCSs are in maintenance now, and four of the eight block-buy ships that have commissioned already are undergoing their initial Post Shakedown Availabilities (PSA), Cmdr. John Perkins, spokesman for Naval Surface Force Pacific, told USNI News.

                          In addition to the deploying ships themselves being in maintenance, so too are the training ships that will be required to help train and certify the crews. The Navy upended its LCS training and manning plans in 2016 when then-SURFOR commander Vice Adm. Tom Rowden announced a change to a blue-gold crewing model and a ship reorganization: hulls 1 through 4 serve in San Diego as a test division, to help test mission module components and get them fielded; the remaining ships are divided into divisions of four ships each, responsible for either surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare. Within each division, the first ship has a more experienced crew that is responsible for training and certifying the rest of the crews, and the other three ships are deployable assets. Due to this model, not only does the deployable ship have to be in the water and ready for operations, but so does the training ship.

                          Previously, the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (formerly PEO LCS) had told USNI News that the program was preparing to deploy one Lockheed Martin-built Freedom-variant LCS from Mayport, Fla., to Bahrain this year, as the first LCS deployment to U.S. 5th Fleet; and that it was also preparing to send two Austal-built Independence-variant LCSs from San Diego to Singapore, in the first dual-ship deployment to stretch the Navy’s ability to support multiple LCS operations in theater.

                          Now, the Bahrain deployment has definitely been pushed to 2019. The Navy would not state that the Singapore deployments have been delayed until 2019, but given the task of getting ships through maintenance and then getting the crews trained and certified and ready to deploy, it is unlikely that even one LCS would be able to deploy this year.

                          “LCS deployments on both coasts are event-based vice time-based. As such, deployments from both coasts will occur when the deploying hulls are fully prepared and the assigned Blue/Gold crews are fully trained and certified,” Perkins told USNI News.
                          “Training and certification of the Blue/Gold deploying crews require availability of the first LCS Surface Warfare Training Ships on the east and west coasts, respectively. At present, the projected deploying units and their respective training ships are all undergoing their initial Post Shakedown Availabilities (PSAs). Repairs and technical enhancements resulting from the lessons learned during construction of follow-on Freedom and Independence class hulls warranted extended timeframes for these PSAs, ensuring maximum material readiness in support of training, certification, and deployments. The completion of these identified shipyard events will ultimately yield platforms on which training and operations can commence in support of the next set of deployments.”

                          USNI News understands several things are creating longer-than-intended PSAs for these LCSs. First, the ships now entering PSA are the block-buy ships, which are somewhat different than the first four ships of the class and therefore come with their own set of lessons learned for the maintenance yards. Second, as Perkins said, the ships continue to get new capabilities backfit into them during PSA, which adds time. And third, USNI News understands that, in the aftermath of last year’s fatal destroyer collisions, the Navy is being more diligent than before about ensuring the best possible material condition of ships coming out of maintenance – additional quality assurance steps are being taken, which keeps the ships tied up in the yards a bit longer than before.

                          Additionally, on the West Coast, where all the Independence-variant ships are homeported, the trimaran hulls require a drydock for virtually any kind of maintenance availability, and the drydocks are in short supply as the Navy faces a high workload in the coming years.

                          In San Diego, where LCS Squadron 1 (LCSRON-1) is homeported, the first three hulls – USS Freedom (LCS-1), USS Independence (LCS-2) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) are in planned maintenance periods, while USS Coronado (LCS-4) is back from the most recent Singapore deployment and available to conduct some Coastal Mine Reconnaissance testing this spring and mine countermeasures mission package testing this summer, LCS Mission Modules Program Manager Capt. Ted Zobel told USNI News this week at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space 2018 symposium.

                          He added that, in terms of conducting mission package testing on the waterfront, the program is “hoping to loop in 1 through 3 as they come out of their availabilities.”

                          The Independence-variant surface warfare division includes USS Jackson (LCS-6) as the training ship, and USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) and USS Omaha (LCS-12) as the ships that will operate forward as surface warfare assets. Two of the four ships are undergoing PSA now.

                          In Mayport, the LCSRON-2 Freedom-variant surface warfare division includes USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) as the training ship and USS Detroit (LCS-7) as a deploying ship. USS Little Rock (LCS-9) is expected to arrive this week, and USS Sioux City (LCS-11) will join after it commissions this fall, Naval Surface Force Atlantic spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told USNI News.

                          Milwaukee recently completed its Light Off Assessment, which certifies the engineering plant after a maintenance availability, in this case the ship’s PSA. Sailors are busy training in seamanship and navigation ahead of getting the ship back underway later this month.

                          Detroit is preparing for its upcoming Light Off Assessment as its PSA wraps up.

                          Zobel said during a panel discussion at the symposium that Milwaukee will begin testing a Surface-to-Surface Missile Module during the week of April 23, marking the beginning of developmental test for the SSMM. Over the summer, though, the SSMM equipment will be taken off Milwaukee and installed on Detroit, which will continue the developmental test and conduct operational testing beginning in the fall. Zobel said SSMM testing should be completed by December or January, and then the Detroit crew will conduct its predeployment training and certification. About a year from now, Detroit will make its maiden deployment – with the surface missile – to Bahrain.


                          • Little Rock made it to Mayport on 12th of April.


                            • There's no doubt that the LCS program has been a serious problem for the navy to contend with. Cost overruns and poorly (or non-) functioning systems as well as a new crewing concept (for the surface fleet) have highlighted the troubles and I think this has contributed greatly to program delays. Also, personnel training and staffing is a navy-wide problem that has caused more than one major LCS equipment casualty and resultant loss of mission capability (also being a primary cause for the collisions and grounding incidents on other ships). The Navy has really only within the last year or so identified the root causes and has since been working very hard to address all of the issues identified. I think this is one of the major reasons for all of the unexpected pierside and yard work that is keeping the fleet sidelined. Assuming that's true, hopefully, in 2019, the navy will have the majority of the issues corrected and the LCS will be the world-wide workhorse that was always intended. It will be better to keep them close to home rather than deploy them if they are not ready.


                              • The Navy Basically Just Admitted That The Littoral Combat Ship Is A Floating Garbage Pile

                                After 16 years and billions of dollars, the Navy may have finally acknowledged that its Littoral Combat Ship program looks like a miserable failure.

                                The service “may not” deploy any of the dozen small surface combatants this year despite officials’ previous plans to deploy several to join the 7th and 5th Fleets in Singapore and Bahrain respectively, the U.S. Naval Institute first reported on April 11.

                                Given the embarrassing cost overruns and frequent mechanical failures that have plagued the program, the exquisitely-detailed report suggests that the Navy has run out of patience for the disappointment mill that is the Littoral Combat Ship, once the backbone of the future fleet that could have 355 ships.

                                Here’s the money graf from USNI News explaining the strange lack of upcoming deployments:

                                Three of the Navy’s four original LCSs are in maintenance now, and four of the eight block-buy ships that have commissioned already are undergoing their initial Post Shakedown Availabilities (PSA), Cmdr. John Perkins, spokesman for Naval Surface Force Pacific, told USNI News.

                                In addition to the deploying ships themselves being in maintenance, so too are the training ships that will be required to help train and certify the crews. The Navy upended its LCS training and manning plans in 2016 when then-SURFOR commander Vice Adm. Tom Rowden announced a change to a blue-gold crewing model and a ship reorganization … not only does the deployable ship have to be in the water and ready for operations, but so does the training ship.

                                It’s clearly not just a matter of organizational chance that’s complicated the deployment of the LCS. Not only did the Navy reduce the number of LCSs ordered from Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics back in 2014 out of concerns over the vessel’s performance, but a review of the Navy’s LCS fleet by the Pentagon’s operational testing and evaluation arm, conducted between 2016 and 2017 and published in January 2018, revealed significant structural problems with the program’s Freedom and Independence variants.

                                This problems include: a concerning deficit in combat system elements (namely radar systems), limited anti-ship missile self-defense capabilities, and a lack of redundancies for vital systems necessary to reduce the chance that “a single hit will result in loss of propulsion, combat capability, and the ability to control damage and restore system operation.”

                                “Neither LCS variant is survivable in high-intensity combat,” according to the DoD report. “Although the ships incorporate capabilities to reduce their susceptibility to attack, testing of analogous capabilities in other ship classes demonstrated that such capabilities have limited effectiveness in high-intensity combat.”

                                While the report recommends that the Navy continue to address the Pentagon’s recommendations, the service is already eyeing other hulls to take on the coastal combat operations initially envisioned for the LCS. In July 2017, the service posted official requirements for a brand new frigate under the Guided Missile Frigate Replacement Program or FFG(X) that will “employ unmanned systems to penetrate and dwell in contested environments” — basically, be the LCS but without the headache (and the additional costs of upgrading each LCS warship to an FFG(X) configuration.)

                                “In many ways, this FFG(X) design goes beyond what today’s LCS can do, particularly as it relates to surface warfare,” as USNI News put it at the time. “The RFI states the frigate should be able to conduct independent operations in a contested environment or contribute to a larger strike group, depending on combatant commander needs.”

                                Will 2018 be the last gasp for the troubled LCS program? Knowing the DOD, probably not — but the USNI News report on the lack of LCS deployments only solidifies one truth about the vessel: LCS, as The War Zone put it, almost definitely stands for ‘Little Crappy Ship.’ Link

                                I'd like to denounce the title as hyperbolic tabloid sensationalism worthy of the New York Post...Unfortunately it's pretty much on point.

                                55 originally planned. 29 now projected. 11 "in service". The rest authorized or building. Worthless. Basically worthless.

                                And this new FFG(X) program will likely wind up the exact same way.
                                5 competitors, 2 of which are basically enlarged versions of the piles of garbage already built.
                                Gee, I wonder which of the 5 will win. It'll be one of the two enlarged piles of garbage, knowing the Navy.

                                Here's an article from back in 2011 (not sure if it's been posted in this mega-thread) that gives a full rundown of this dumpster fire.
                                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value