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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Criticism of the Littoral Combat Ship: "Oh, you mean that 'old' negative report? That is so a year ago."

From, Navy Defends LCS from Damaging Internal Report:
U.S. Navy leaders have taken to Capitol Hill to defend the Littoral Combat Ship after an internal service report described the next-generation surface ship as “ill-suited to execute regional commander’s warfighting needs.”
However, Navy leaders have said it’s unfair to judge the program on a report that is a year old.

What a powerful defense.

Probably should update that report to reflect the raft of new problems. Such as LCS Crew Discovers Seawater in Freedom’s Lube-Oil. A problem which, by the way, the Navy described by stating it is not as bad as it could been:
Navy officials say this kind of malfunction has, on occasion, happened on other ships as well but stressed that no crew members were ever in harm’s way.

“Although the failures are infrequent, it’s not unusual that these pumps would fail from time to time. This was not an incident where there was flooding on the ship or the ship was taking on water. The crew was never in danger,” said Falvo.
I feel so much better for knowing that.

About that "internal report" - see here:
“This review highlights the gap between ship capabilities and the missions the Navy will need LCS to execute,” said the report prepared last year for the Navy by Rear Admiral Samuel Perez. “Failure to adequately address LCS requirements and capabilities will result in a large number of ships that are ill-suited to execute” regional commanders’ warfighting needs.
The Perez report also highlights the vessel’s limited combat capability. The Navy has acknowledged that the vessels are being built to the service’s lowest level of survivability, a Pentagon-approved decision that sought to balance cost and performance.

The ship “is not expected to be survivable in that it is not expected to maintain mission capability after taking a significant hit in a hostile combat environment,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, said in a January report.

Even in its surface warfare role, when all armaments are working as intended, the vessel “is only capable of neutralizing” small, fast-attack boats and it “remains vulnerable to ships” with anti-ship cruise missiles that can travel more than five miles (8 kilometers), according to the Perez report. Iran has 67 such vessels, according to a chart in the report.

The Littoral Combat Ship is “ill-suited for combat operations against anything but” small, fast boats not armed with anti-ship missiles, the Perez report found.
Of course, our shipmate CDR Salamander is all over this.

The Perez report is not the first "negative vibe" re the LCS. A good piece (which may be behind the USNI Proceeding "member's only" wall is "Birth of the Littoral Combat Ship" by Capt. Robert Carney Powers, USN (Retired) :
It has taken 17-plus years since the LCS concept was born to come up with a flawed ship. What must go to accommodate the systems needed to make it relevant to its tasks? The LCS is, after all, a 3,000-ton ship (much larger than a World War II destroyer escort, and three-fourths the size of a Perry - or Knox -class frigate). The space for needed capability can be found.

As currently configured (weapons, manning, concept), is the LCS up to the tasks it could soon face (in the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere)? The answer is regretfully “no.”

Is the LCS fit to be “the most numerous ship in the U.S. Navy?” Same answer.

Ah, yes, we are going to put sailors into ships that can't do the job, you know, unless we were suddenly attacked by war canoes.

Perhaps if we paint scary shark's teeth on the bows of these ships we strike fear in the hearts of our prospective enemies.

Ooooh, look - scary!

Time to rethink our fleet needs and the needs of those we send to sea to defend this country.


  1. Anonymous7:54 PM

    What a waste of sailors and money!

  2. What a waste, we should have gone with a Multi Role littoral Frigate than the Little crappy ship.

  3. Anonymous12:33 PM

    What a misleading load of... information. Tell me, please, how this ship is less capable than the three classes it's designed to replace - OHP, PC and MCM. Is the Navy behind on MM development? Yes, and they need to move forward quickly. One concept I like is to start adding capabilities that exist in "van" format now. TALOS, UAV, Anti Piracy, Non Combatant Evacuation, Medical and Humanitarian Relief... I've done each of these over the past 15 years. These missions could be conducted NOW. I spent 2 months off of the Horn of Africa in a Destroyer ostensibly chasing down pirate dows... please. A mission perfect for this ship and these requirements exist around the globe. Build more, build them faster, deploy them now!
    Don't have an account, but happy to respond to replies...

    1. Also, what is a Mk VI gunboat and Sea Control all about?

  4. Navy Regulations exist for a reason and all of those reasons were written in BLOOD for over 200 years of lessons learned. The thought that speed will be a saving grace in the 2 dimensional surface combat space is so crazy one is left to wonder how individuals with such mindsets were placed in policy making or program management positions.
    What has been accomplished so far is transfer of wealth from the public coffers to private companies at the expense of our sailor sons and daughters safety? Then we got a substandard product that is not only not survivable, it can barely defend itself, as it is being shoe horned into FFG-7 slots that have a much greater survivability factor with much greater multi-mission combat power.

    The Fleet is shrinking. Prudence would dictate that nothing involved in survivability and safety should be compromised because it’s now more important. The opposite mindset seems to permeate our US Navy shipbuilding planning folks as they try to shoehorn reduced capable ships into required operational categories to save money, as the fleet shrinks. This is in an international environment that is getting worse by the day. This is crazy. Our mantra is to ‘never send out troops into the fair fight’. This new ‘cost effective’ strategy will ‘send them to certain death’. Those who ‘end up going with whatever’, had better have the tools they need to not only accomplish the mission, but also survive, as a matter of principle. Otherwise . . . what are you doing ? . . . and . . . the United States Armed Forces has never been about that.
    Maintaining shipbuilding infrastructure and preserving jobs is one thing, but to do it at the expense of our sailor sons and daughter’s safety and success of mission accomplishment is NUTS . . . and criminal.

    The speed of a surface combatant will increase its survivability, but the ship will never outrun bullets and cruise missiles. At present the LCS-1 Class has yet to establish that it can travel from here to there and not break down. Once that goal is accomplished, all we have achieved is to give our sailors the ability to rush into harm’s way, because the ship’s combat system is woefully inadequate in the combat power arena, forget scrutinizing platform survivability.

    As for the ‘low conflict area tasking’ argument, we have been here before with the FFG-7. THEN, many times we had FFG-7 Flt-Is staring down various situations in which they were woefully outgunned or not capable in the threat environment in which they were sent. If we are not to equip them . . . THEN WE SHOULD NOT SEND THEM!!!! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!