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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Panel to Examine the Littoral Combat Ship

Breaking Defense has the tale of a Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Panel :
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has told the Navy in no uncertain terms that he wants a second opinion on the controversial Littoral Combat Ship. Perhaps that’s why the newly formed “Small Surface Combatant Task Force” won’t be led by a sailor or even a Navy civilian. Instead, the “SSCTF” chairman will be Marine Corps Systems Command director John D. Burrow, according to a memo the Navy released today.
The Small Surface Combatant Task Force’s charter is to look at a range of alternatives, from all-new designs to existing ships. Both Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert have repeatedly emphasized the fact that Hagel has by no means taken LCS off the table. To the contrary, both Hagel’s memo and this new one specifically mention the option of “modified LCS design.”

In fact, given the time and cost required to develop an all-new ship, a souped-up LCS may be the only practical option. The only other near-term options seem to be a military variant of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter or a foreign frigate, which even if license-built in the US would raise all sorts of patriotic hackles on Capitol Hill.
Any bets?


  1. Well besides the fact that NO ship driver is part of this, and hopefully the Marines SES will play neutral referee? I want everyone of those folks who think this will be a good effort to know that CNO has already decided to go with an modified LCS designs DESPITE the fact that their payloads are limited. Let me say that again modifying an LCS will NOT result in a viable 4000 to 6000 ton frigate - one can NOT get there from current designs. Advanced marine ships are meant for niche markets and the the navy needs a conventional hull.
    All this effort and many comments are just SPIN to appease congress (who also doesn't care what is built so long as it is their backyard shipyards).

    1. G Lof4:08 AM

      Don't expect Burrow to be "neutral" Leesea, after reading his bio, I expect him to be any thing but "neutral". His current position in Marines SES in administrative mostly, his background is NAVSEA.

      As for the need for a 4000k+ frigate, it bot really desirable for the USN. The USN does not need frigates, neither Euro or American type. And conventional replacement for the LCS should be more like a Northsea ferry, or a Newport class LST without the beaching requirement, more of an LSV. The main purpose of the LCS is to operate unmanned vehicles after all, not be a miniature destroyer, and that will require a larger mission bay and a stern ramp to launch UV from.

      And if we are going to spend the money for a weapon system suitable for an US version of a Euro-frigate, we might as well add a few bucks and build DDG, We get a ship with better survivability and carry addition missiles for very little additional money.

      As for building American frigates, we can't afford to build ship with a design life time of twenty year or less, because we be force to use them for thirty years, the last ten with out effective armament, just like the OHPs.

    2. Anonymous11:06 AM

      For launching and supporting UVs of various flavors, the AFSB-3 design would be superior to LCS in most respects. It can certainly carry more of them and has support space.

      NGFS might best be handled (unless we're talking about building another Adams class DDG) by a platform similar to an LSD/LPD with a forecastle strenghtened to accomodate one or two Mk 71 8" guns and install 4 - 6 MLRS launchers on the current flight deck, with the vehicle deck converted to an MLRS magazine, essentially an updated version of the old USS Carronade. MLRS has variants that can go up to 72 nm, so it would have a somewhat longer reach than the 57mm on LCS.
      I would still build frigates or corvettes, probably a two screw RHP design, with VLS rather than an arm launcher. The whole piracy patrol thing has shown a need for something along these lines, where a cruiser or destroyer is overkill, but a frigate fills the bill nicely.
      I would also keep our brown/green water capability, if it isn't sexy enough for the Fleet, then give it to the reserves, in enlarged coastal warfare groups (I also advocate a return of the COOP program, bottom conditioning is an important aspect of mine warfare and needs to be performed regularly), it would reduce costs and maintain a pool of well trained Sailors available when needed.
      I read an article, earlier, that had some similar points
      One of his points is that the Navy's most succesful ships have been designed in house, I largely agree with him, though some of the auxiliaries presented by vendors have turned out pretty well.


  2. NO ship driver???? I beg to differ.
    "According to the Navy memo, dated March 13, Burrow will lead a committee of seven Navy captains and one civilian, drawing members from both the requirements side of the service – the OPNAV staff in the Pentagon – and the acquisitions side – NAVSEA."
    Who are the captains from OPNAV? I don't think you can go there as an O-6 without command experience.

  3. Ok I giveup on the bios of the SSCTF members, BUT will stick to what has been SAID by the brass already. SECNAV 4 to 6000 ton frigate. CNO wants to use current LCS.
    Future SSC needs to be more conventional and MORE hulls at reasonable cost then a next-gen LCS.
    (GLOG those are the strangest set of platforms of a warship I ever saw?! and I was on the Newport. go read up on the CRF Coastal Riverine Force to see what the USN has now~) YES the USN needs a dedicated mineship as a MIW platform but might be nothing like we have now?
    I think the current DDG program will get the USN large surface warships for the immediate future?

    1. G Lof4:13 AM

      leesea, how making time have we all been told that the LSC is NOT a member of the Cruiser\Destroyer\Frigate community, It a support ships, taking over the mine warfare, special operation, coastal ASW, law enforcement, and numerous other mission that normally you not want to was CDF type to do.

      As for my choice of base configuration, the key requirement is a large mission bay/vehicle deck too support Unmanned Vehicles. These are the future of operation in the littoral. The configuration I suggest will have such that large deck.