Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seems Like a Good Idea: A Patrol Frigate Based on the Coast Guard National Security Cutter

Advertised not as a LCS substitute, but rather as - something else -  Press release
National Security Cutter
Artist Conception of new Patrol Frigate
Huntington Ingalls Industries will participate in Doha's International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) this week, highlighting the new patrol frigate derivative of the company's proven U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter. The patrol frigate could be built at the company's Ingalls Shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi. "The Ingalls patrol frigate design has already proven its seaworthiness in U.S. Coast Guard service," said Dan Holloway, HII's corporate vice president for customer relations. "Our analysis has shown there are foreign navies with requirements for patrol frigate capabilities and that this particular design will address naval multi-mission needs. The patrol frigate's technologically advanced ship features, coupled with Ingalls' experienced workforce and active construction line, will generate an affordable platform for a variety of potential customers." In addition to its patrol frigate, Ingalls will highlight its long history of maintenance and overhaul support to the U.S. Navy, as well as its successful experience as one of the primary builders of DDG 51 destroyers. Ingalls has delivered three National Security Cutters to the Coast Guard, and two more ships are currently under construction. There are two patrol frigate variants: Patrol Frigate 4501 and Patrol Frigate 4921. Patrol Frigate 4501 is closely aligned with the basic National Security Cutter hull with limited design changes. The ships are 127 meters (418 feet) long with a 16.5 meter (54 feet) beam and displace 4,600 tons with a full load. The ship has a 12,000-nautical mile range and can operate in speeds up through 28-plus knots. They have an endurance of 60 days and accommodations for 148. The ship includes an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of aircraft, with twin hangars for storage of one H-60 class helicopter and two rotary-wing unmanned aircraft. The ships are equipped with various sensors and surveillance systems as well as a 57-mm gun, a 20-mm close-in weapon system and six 50-caliber machine guns. Patrol Frigate 4921 has additional mission capabilities for anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine-warfare provided by a 76-mm gun, a 12-cell vertical launch system, an anti-ship missile launcher and torpedo launcher, sonar dome and remote-controlled and manned 50-caliber machine guns. Both frigates retain the NSC's propulsion system of one LM2500 gas turbine and two MTU20V 1163 diesels in combined diesel and gas configuration. All variants incorporate the current quality-of-life features on the NSC, including modern berthing compartments, entertainment facilities and workout facilities.


  1. I saw a model of this ship at the Navy League shindig up at National Harbor, last year. I like the idea, longer legs than LCS, VLS, good UNREP setup. I like the idea of the 3"/76mm gun, as well. Just from the standpoint of physics, it's got a lot of advantages over the 57mm (which is not a bad gun, just more appropriate for smaller platforms).

    We really need something to take the place of the OHPs.

  2. I agree BUT the USN leadership is totally committed to LCS (a bad COA IMHO~)

    And I have recently heard that the Navy plans NO intermediate sized warship or OHP type ship from PC to LCS. Nothing to perform in the dangerous green waters that LCS may well fail to work in?

    I mean even the OLD worn out PCs are only getting small fixes to keep them around a few more years?

    1. Anonymous2:31 PM

      The LCS is a class "D" fire looking for an ignitio source. Fourty knots is not fast enough to ourtrun a cruise missile. Once hit this hull will be useless, and other vessels will have to come rescue the crew. Several hi-end all aluminum structure yachts have burned to the waterline and/or sunk in the last 18 months. An aluminum constructed combat vessel is, and has never been, a good idea. We learned the hard way on the guided missile cruiser I was stationed on. Hull was steel (good). Superstructure was aluminum, and once on fire, is exttremely hard to put out, if at all. Just a thought.

  3. I agree, that the Patrol frigate should have been considered. I think sooner or latter either through Budget pressure or Congressional pressure, the US Navy is going to have to swallow it's pride and take the Patrol frigate idea from the National security cutter.

  4. Anonymous9:04 PM

    china is on the horizon we need more well armed lcs plus about patrol frigates to hold china at bay. Also africa will become a haven for radical islamist reformers . wE have to do this now 10 pf a year for 10 years these ships also have to come on line sooner no more 5 year commissioning process

  5. As the CG-47 Class and the DDG-51 Class get re-assigned for BMD duty, our formations will become more vulnerable in the Pacific. A real need for a Mini-Aegis FFG is so clearly evident that it is hard to understand why mission sets are not requiring this platform to be developed and fielded. The FFG-7s are going away fast. The LCS CANNOT take their place. One can only hope that a small Surface Action Group multi-warefare capable platform is developed and fielded soon.

  6. More from Curtis Conway in a comment that I fat-fingered into oblivion:

    The United States Navy needs an Aegis Guided Missile Frigate. As the FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class FFGs come out of service they are being replaced by a very anemic LCS that WILL NEVER equal the combat power represented by the platform it replaces weakening our navy with every exchange. The new Aegis FFG must be multi-warfare capable. With the advent of new technologies, weapons, and propulsion systems this new platform should be fast and efficient, capable and robust. Where ever this combatant shows up it will be able to “Show the Flag”, handle the problem, and hold the fort until others can arrive. This building program should be distributed between two competing shipyards in different regions to help distribute jobs and positive economic impact of this construction effort. These vessels should come on line quickly and get the numbers back up in available combatants to fleets in all operational areas.
    If the United States Navy had the Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) modification going into our DDG-51 Destroyers and CG-47 Cruisers, we would be able to steam more days less expensively. The parenthetical data to support this conclusion is the last cruise statistics from USS Makin Island (LHD-8) deployment. Hybrid Electric Drive is money well spent, and provides real returns, and is an investment in lower (repeatable) operational costs. This capability should be incorporated in our new Aegis Guided Missile Frigate.
    As it is, we are pumping billions into a fast speed boat (Littoral Combat Ship) that has very little combat power, has limited combat improvement capability, and is planned to receive only limited combat capability. Our fleet needs multi-warfare capable combatants at all levels. When going up against future adversaries in the Pacific, our combat fleet must be robust, not anemic. The LCS-2 is built out of aluminum which, in effect, is a class “D” fire looking for an ignition event (combat), that will do it in. An LCS assignment to a formation will be a net negative, particularly if it takes battle damage.
    The new Aegis FFG design should include:
    1) Hybrid Electric Drive (HED)/Gas Turbine Propulsion driving two shafts with rudders
    2) Prime Mover(s) LM-2500+G4 with matching Main Reduction Gear (MRG)
    3) Electrical power generation by three (3) 501K GTGs distributed forward, amidships, and aft.
    4) Integrated Power System (IPS) with distributed power generation and storage
    5) Operational performance that includes speed & endurance sufficient to perform “Plane Guard” and/or sprint across the Pacific that may last a couple of days
    6) Aegis Combat System with SPY(x) or AMDR Light 3D Radar and combat system
    7) Electro Optical surveillance system fore and aft with real time Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and laser target designation and illumination capability
    8) Mk41 VLS forward and/or Mk57 VLS aft with multi-warfare weapons load-out
    a. Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) as primary AAW armament
    b. Vertical Launch ASROC as ASW armament
    c. Mixed load of SM-2/SM-6 for long range AAW/TBMD
    9) Convenient and rapid small boat operations capability
    10) Directed Energy Point Defense, one fore/aft or two port/starboard
    11) A gun, 57mm minimum
    12) At least one helicopter hanger
    13) Non-VLS Harpoon Missile Launchers, 2 X Quad Packs
    14) Latest Electronic Warfare Suite w/countermeasures for this sized vessel
    15) Hull frame should be able to handle extended periods in the roughest seas in the Northern latitudes, and last 50 years.
    The LCS’s should be used in US waters, coastal areas, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean only.
    Cancellation of LCS and stretch-out of DDG-51 Flt III can provide the funds needed to start up the program. We can build at least three (3) Aegis FFGs for the price of one DDG-51 Flt III. Upgrade of existing Aegis platforms to BMD mission capability can help elevate the numbers of platforms available for BMD tasking more quickly than building new platforms.
    I sent the above to my two senators and congressman. How about you?

  7. Anonymous9:43 PM

    The 4921 frigate is an excellent replacement for the OHP's! More capable, longer legs, better propulsion system, and already R&D'd by Ingalls. The production line is already in service for the NSC, it uses existing technology and weapons systems, much enhanced crew habitability and you can get 3 for the price of one DDG! The Navy needs to swallow its pride, buy something off the shelf they didn't spend 500 million designing and get this fast, long range, low cost (non Aegis) ass kicker rolling!

  8. REVISED (A-Level Specification – 10APR15)
    Type: Frigate, Aegis Guided Missile & Directed Energy w/ Railgun pending availability
    Complement: 140 Officers and crew
    Displacement: 5500 tons standard
    6300 tons full load
    Length: 150 m (492 ft)
    Beam: 16 m (54 ft)
    Draft: 6.9 m (22.5 ft)

    Propulsion: Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) COGAG, two shafts, two LM2500+G4 (de-rated) turbines and DRS Permanent On-Shaft Moving Magnet Electric Motors (1 x LM2500+G4 & DRS PMM Electric Motor per shaft) with Controllable Reversible Propellers, Three [GE38 derived] Gas Turbine Generators (GTGs), 10 Megawatts each
    Speed: 30+ knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) Gas Turbine Powered
    15 knots Electric Drive

    Sensors, processing & display systems:
    • SSDS (Ships Self Defense System) MK2 Mod 4+
    • Cooperative Engagement System (CEC)
    • Link-16
    • AN/UYQ-70 Common Display System
    • AN/SPY-6(v) AMDR Lite 9-module Derivative Non-rotating 3D Main Sensor with four Array Faces
    • AN/SPQ-9B w/ Mk 160 Fire Control System
    • SQS-83 Derivative ASW System w/ SQS-53 Hull Mounted Sonar
    • SLQ-32 SEWIP Blk III EW System
    • 360⁰ Passive IR detection and tracking system horizon to zenith
    • 4 x Independent WESCAM MX-15 Electro Optical Tracking Systems (hanging with overlapping views of quarters)
    • 2 x Independent WESCAM MX-15 Electro Optical Tracking Systems (standing fore & aft) with unobstructed field of view -7⁰ azimuth to zenith & max unobstructed horizon

    • Directed Energy Laser, 4 x 500Kw minimum, two per side, maximum field of view on the four corners of the forward superstructure, mounted as high as practicable
    • Gun, 1 × 127 mm (5 in)/62 caliber gun Guided Projectile Compatible
    • 2 x Mk 15 Phalanx Weapon port & starboard amidships between Directed Energy weapons
    • Missiles foredeck 1 × Mk 41 VLS (16 strike length cells) minimum
    • 6 x RIM-174 Standard ERAM (SM-6)
    • 6 x RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3-IA)
    • 4 x Super ASROC
    • Missile Fields port/starboard in place of sacrificed helo hanger, 2 rows 8 cells/side, inboard row Mk 41 standard length, outboard row Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile length
    • 2 x Mk32 Triple 324 mm (12.8 in) Torpedo Tubes
    Torpedo Countermeasures System

    Aircraft carried: 1 × MH-60R helicopter
    Boats: 2 x Long Range Prosecutor (LRP) and/or Short Range Interceptor (SRI) boats
    This vessel will be smaller and lighter than the destroyer with capabilities in all warfare areas including AAW, ASW, ASuW, Naval Gun Fire Support, Anti-Piracy Operations, Plane Guard, and Escort Missions. The combat capability will look very much like a CG-47 Class Cruiser when it first came out. Weapons load out and draft will be less (about 28’ with SQS-53 on the bow), but maneuverability and speed, additional small boat support, passive combat system elements, and engagement capacity will be greater than, or equivalent to, the original Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser. The introduction of Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs), and the lighter smaller General Atomics Railgun, will provide cover for the vessel lacking in kinetic kill capacity. This little skirmisher will be able to stay underway for at least 30 days without resupply, and stretch its fuel when staying on station for the better part of a month, when not engaged in combat. At a minimum the combat system will be able to provide limited Theater Ballistic Missile Defense capability. Sufficient crew must man the vessel to fight the ship, perform damage control, and conduct maintenance requirements in a reasonable amount of time. Our goal is to build a very efficient combined Hybrid Electric Drive (HED)/gas turbine propulsion ship with GTG power generation systems, integrated power distribution and storage systems, packaged in an all-ocean Arctic-capable steel hull.

  9. Mark, I have to put myself on Report. My Spec above lists the SQS-83 Derivative ASW System, and of course it doesn't exist. The system of choice would be an AN/SQQ-89 Anti-Submarine Warfare Control System (derivative), and would be common with CG-47/DDG-51 Class vessels for training, and logistical support. The expansion of the submarine fleet of our most adamant & potentially belligerent adversary in the Pacific is the compelling reason to adopt a platform with this system. Survivability of any platform in modern War At Sea scenario will required the BMD capability at least for a Tactical Ballistic Missile with a range of perhaps several thousand miles. the 9-module AN/SPY-6(v) radar may not see that far, for it will be queued by tippers that will.

  10. On the USNI site today the Aegis BMD report


    has a section in it that this website has been ringing the bell on since 2012:
    Issues for Congress
    Required Numbers of BMD-Capable Aegis Ships vs. Available Numbers of BMD-Capable Aegis Ships

    AND . . . here we are! Should have been building an Aegis Guided Missile Frigates (instead of LCS) with TBMD capability so some of those bases for the Combatant Commander (CCDR) requests independent of the Navy unique requirement could have been met. Now we are a day late and a dollar short. Told you it was coming, and the world changed under the US Navy’s nose, and they ignored it to our detriment. We will be chasing this requirement as the planet gets more dangerous for over a decade. Better get that Aegis FFG going soon! Need 50+.