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Offline Triton

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Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« on: June 12, 2014, 08:22:04 pm »
"Lockheed Outlines Post Littoral Combat Ship Pitch
By: Sam LaGrone
Published: June 10, 2014 5:42 PM
Updated: June 10, 2014 6:08 PM

Source:
http://news.usni.org/2014/06/10/8077

Quote
Lockheed Martin outlined the range of options they presented to the Navy as part of the Pentagon mandated study into a follow-on ship to the Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships in a media briefing on Monday.

Lockheed — as part two April requests for information (RFI) from the Small Surface Combatant Task Force — submitted a variety of options based on their current Freedom-class (LCS-1) design.

Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ship Systems for Lockheed, emphasized the sea frame ability to accommodate increasingly sophisticated radars and weapons systems within the constraints of the basic design.

“We have a lot of flexibility in the hull. If you remember, we’re carrying around 180 metric tons of capability, empty space right now, for the mission packages, so depending on what they’re looking at we have a lot of capability in the hull from a naval architecture standpoint,” North told reporters on Monday.
“From a performance standpoint, we can add to the ship and make [systems] permanent or if you want to look at separate packages.”

Part of those options include a much more robust anti-air warfare (AAW) capability with permanent vertical launch system (VLS) cells capable of holding anti-air missiles and much more capable radar.

“[Increased] radar capability is everything from solid-state more capable rotators to a high end capability —the hull allows that,” North said.

As part of its international offering for ships based on the Freedom hull, Lockheed has offered a SPY-1F air defense radar — an 8 foot diameter version of the radar on U.S. destroyers sized for frigates.

An upgunned Freedom — at its current length of 118 meters — could also include 4 to 32 VLS cells. Each cell would be capable of fielding four Raytheon RIM-162D Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM), North said.

“[VLS] is a modular package in itself because it gives [the ship] the capability to launch several types of missiles including ESSM, which is one of the things they’ll absolutely come back and look for to give the ship some more self protection… as a permanent installation,” he said.

Critics of the current Freedom and Austal USA’s Independence classes of ships have zeroed in on a perceived lack of offensive capability for the two ships.

Austal and Lockheed have developed preliminary designs of their ships with VLS for international sale.

In remarks earlier this year, then acting deputy defense Christine Fox implied the current LCS variants were “niche” platforms and the Navy needed tougher ship.

“We need more ships with the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary,” Fox said in February, just ahead of a Pentagon announcement forcing the Navy to take a second look at the LCS program.

As part of the coversheet for its response to the Navy’s RFI, Lockheed included a Freedom variant with a quad cell VLS firing what appear to be Raytheon Standard Missile (SM) 2.

In the surface-to-surface realm, North said the ship could accommodate either the current BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun or a larger Mark 45 five-inch gun. The range of offerings did also factor in Naval Sea Systems Command decision to integrate the Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L for the fast attack craft/ fast inshore attack (FAC/FIAC) threat.

The Flight 0 Freedom and Independence LCS will be manned by 90 sailors for surface warfare (SuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasure (MCM) missions by a series of mission packages that can be swapped out of the ship depending on the circumstances.

The Navy’s original plan was to build 52 LCS but cut the Flight 0 program at 32 — a reduction of 20 ships as part of the current reexamination of the LCS begun in February under mandate from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The RFIs were part of the work of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force tasked to evaluate other options beyond Flight 0 LCS. The group was mandated to examine: A modified design of an existing LCS, existing ship designs and a new ship design.

“The RFI will ask for pretty specific information that will give us insight to the ship integration requirement, the performance, what are the primary, second and third order costs associated with [concepts],” John Burrow, executive director of the Marine Corps Systems Command and current head of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force told reporters in April.
“It’s a fairly detailed list of information that we’re looking for.”

The task force is due to submit their findings by the end of July.

Given tightening Pentagon budgets, an entirely new ship design is unlikely, however North speculated that several European yards have likely submitted information for the RFIs.

“I can imagine every shipyard across Europe — which is very stagnant and a lot of them have designs — [submitted a packet],” North said.
“I bet you woke up the entire planet.”

An artist's conception for two variants of the Freedom-class LCS design provided to USNI News. Lockheed Martin Image

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 08:30:04 pm »
"Lockheed Says It Can ‘Easily’ Improve LCS"
by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/lockheed-says-it-can-easily-improve-lcs/

Quote
ARLINGTON: In the race to replace the Navy’s controversial Littoral Combat Ship, the leading contender seems to be…. a better Littoral Combat Ship. That’s the clear implication of what we’ve been hearing from Navy leadership, and it’s clear from  press briefings today that LCS contractor Lockheed Martin feels pretty confident it can do the job. (Lockheed builds the Freedom-class LCS; the Independence variant is by Austal and General Dynamics).

The incumbent’s advantage here is time. Lockheed VP Joe North told reporters at the companys pre-Farnborough Air Show briefing that he expects “every shipyard across Europe” to take a shot. But existing European designs might take years to revise to the US Navy’s requirements and an all-new design would take at least a decade. Of course, LCS is already in production, and while many in the Pentagon and Congress are deeply dissatisfied with the ship, Lockheed argues that its modular design makes it easy to upgrade.

“Whatever they decide they want for upgrades, they will start [putting on ships] as early as FY ’17 [fiscal year 2017],” North said of the Navy. Lockheed can meet that schedule or even beat it by putting upgrades on 2016 ships if desired, he said confidently. “I can easily work these [changes] in,” North said, and keep LCS production going without a pause: “If you do this right, we don’t need to break production. I think that’s huge.”

So what would the LCS-plus look like? “We gave them lots of options,” North said, “them” being the Small Surface Ship Combatant Task Force appointed by Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel to review alternatives to the existing LCS design; the SSCTF will report back to Hagel by August. Lockheed can build its LCS with a bigger main gun (“we’ve always been gun-agonistic,” North said), a more powerful radar, or a less zippy but more fuel-efficient power plant — all diesels instead of the current diesel-turbine combo — if the Navy decides long range is more important than high speed.

Perhaps most important, Lockheed can build an upgunned LCS with Vertical Launch Systems (VLS), the Navy’s plug-and-play launchers for a wide variety of missiles. The ship could accommodate eight VLS cell with a modest redesign to the bow, North told reporters, or up to 32 VLS if you cut the hangar capacity from two helicopters down to one. For comparison, the Navy’s cutting edge DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer, a vastly larger ship, carries 80 VLS cells.

What about survivability, though? The most common criticism of LCS — including by the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) — is that the hull is simply too fragile to survive in major combat. The Navy’s own rating system puts the LCS at survivability level one, compared to level two for the FFG-7 Perry-class frigates it replaces and level three for the much larger DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers.

But in fact, “we’re more survivable than the FFGs,” North said bluntly. The Navy’s requirements for the various survivability levels have changed since the frigates were assessed, he asserted, and technology’s improved: “We’re using high-strength, low-weight steel that wasn’t even around.”

Offline Creative

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 11:55:37 am »
Here's a link to the Hi-res of the photo (3mb) http://i.imgur.com/DDVe9L2.jpg

Also a crop of a ship seen in the corner
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 11:58:24 am by Creative »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014, 12:28:49 pm »
Thank you for your post, Creative.

Lockheed Martin has been claiming that the Seablade hull of the Freedom-class LCS is scalable from corvette to frigate. Compare the current hull design to the frigate-sized Multi-Mission Combatant (MMC) from 2012. The largest MMC was 3,500 (long?) tons.

Source:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-new-littoral-combat-ships-updated-01343/

« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 12:48:38 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014, 12:39:25 pm »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2014, 10:24:23 am »
"NavWeek: Make Way For the LCSG"
Jun 17, 2014 by Michael Fabey in Ares

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/navweek-make-way-lcsg

Quote
With only about a month to respond to the U.S. Navy’s requests for information (RFIs) for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) –Next, the pressure is on the service and contractors to come up with the nation’s future small surface combatant.

Responding to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s mandate to come up with a more lethal and survivable LCS successor, the Navy has certainly made a great show of putting everything on the table for consideration.

But to be honest, that table is far from level -– it is quite slanted and there are going to be plenty of ideas, concepts and proposals that simply slide right off. That’s not a knock, necessarily, against the Navy -– it’s just an observation of the reality the service has to deal with.

In directing the Navy to make a ship that packs –- and takes -– a bigger punch, Hagel also wants the service to keep it affordable and he wants to avoid construction gaps.

So while the Navy’s RFI opens up LCS-Next to all kinds of possibilities, including foreign designs, the call to keep costs down and make it fit in current shipbuilding and fleet requirement scheduling makes it essentially impossible to consider any program that is not already in production.  And lawmakers will make sure the program stays as domestic as possible.

That leaves the Navy with U.S. shipbuilding programs already in production, such as the steel monohull LCS 1 USS Freedom version being built by a Lockheed Martin-led team, the all-aluminum trimaran LCS 2 USS Independence model being built by the Austal USA team, or even a version of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter being constructed by Huntington Ingalls Industries.

While the cutter concept is intriguing, Navy officials dismissed a variant of the white hull a while ago for, among other things, not being combat-worthy. A course reversal at this time seems unlikely.

The most likely course the Navy will follow would be to award Lockheed and Austal contracts for modified LCS versions similar to the concepts both companies have developed for international markets. Essentially, some of the weaponry included in the mission module packages would become organic to the hulls. This would take away some of the modularity –- at the very moment the concept of quickly shifting missions via swappable modules is starting to take root with the U.S. Navy and even among international customers -– but help make the ships more of a force to be reckoned with on the open seas.

Taking that a step farther, one of the concepts being bandied about is the introduction of vertically launched guided missiles on the LCS template hulls. Some in the Navy have started to call this the LCSG –- like the DDG for destroyers or CG for cruisers.

Now that’s a ship that the surface warfare officer cadre can get behind. That’s the kind of ship that can do something, that can blow up things, and take better care of itself. At least that’s the thinking of the LCS brass now.

LCSG. Who would have thought?

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2014, 12:52:28 pm »
Thank you for your post, Creative.

Lockheed Martin has been claiming that the Seablade hull of the Freedom-class LCS is scalable from corvette to frigate. Compare the current hull design to the frigate-sized Multi-Mission Combatant (MMC) from 2012. The largest MMC was 3,500 (long?) tons.

Source:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-new-littoral-combat-ships-updated-01343/

1) As explicitely stated on LockMart's website, the hull is (supposedly) scalable ("proven") from 67 meters to 150 meters at various displacements.
On the pic you posted, the pennant number actually refers to the LOA of each variant : 85m LOA at the bottom (pennant = 85), 118m LOA in the middle (pennant = 118), 150m LOA at the top (pennant = 150).

2) According to the SCS brochure, the 118m LOA variant has a 3,600mt FLD. The NVR gives an FLD of 3,450 mt for the 118m LOA USS Fort Worth (LCS-3).
 
3) ISTR coming across references stating an FLD somewhere between 4,500 mt and 5,000 mt for the 150m LOA variant, but I didn't put these references in my bookmarks. 
 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 01:13:04 pm by Matt R. »

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 01:18:09 pm »
Another article mentioning a sweet spot @ 125m LOA and a maxed-out variant @ 140m LOA :
 
source : Defense News
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140523/DEFREG02/305230023/Ideas-Pour-US-Navy-s-Small-Ship-Task-Force
 
Quote
Ideas Pour in to US Navy's Small Ship Task Force
May. 23, 2014 - 03:45AM   |   By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS   
 
WASHINGTON — The task force working to come up with ideas for the US Navy’s small surface combatant (SSC) got a major data download Thursday, as industry submitted their proposals for modified or entirely new designs.
 
Both builders of littoral combat ships — Lockheed Martin and Austal USA — submitted ideas to modify their designs. Huntington Ingalls proposed frigate variants of its national security cutter design. And at least one outlier, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, put in a bid.
 
Companies were also invited to come up with ideas for the ship’s combat system. In separate proposals, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GD AIS) described systems and components to equip the SSC.
 
The submissions were in response to two requests for information (RFIs) issued in April by the task force — a unit stood up in March to provide recommendations to Navy leadership by the end of July on potential alternatives to the current LCS designs.
 
The fast track was apparent in the size restrictions put on the RFIs — the ship RFI was limited to 25 pages, the combat systems response to 15 pages. RFIs typically run into many hundreds of pages.
 
The limited responses reflect the goals of the task force.
 
“We’re not going to have time for them to go through and do a [new] design,” John Burrow, head of the task force, told reporters on April 30. “We’re asking for existing designs and mature design concepts,” he said, and “systems and technologies at the component level.”
 
The responses were submitted to Naval Sea Systems Command, which will process and forward them to the task force. It’s not yet clear how many respondents were garnered by each RFI.
 
Lockheed was perhaps in the best position to respond, having spent several years aggressively proposing various versions of its 118-meter-long Freedom-class LCS to potential foreign customers. Joe North, head of the company’s LCS programs, said a similar approach was used in its responses.
 
“We submitted a range of designs, tied to the price of each, tied to the earliest we would be able to get those upgrades into the ships,” he said on Friday. The company’s proposals included upgrading littoral combat ships as early as ships in the 2015 program.
 
“We need a better electronic warfare system,” North said as an example. “I could put that into the 2015-16-17 ships if they wanted. And they could spiral their upgrades as they want.”
 
Lockheed’s proposals focus on ships larger than the current LCS.

“We tied affordability to what we were doing, and we kind of found a sweet spot at 125 meters,” North said. Larger ships, up to 140 meters, would add range.

The proposals include incorporating vertical launch systems able to launch Standard SM-2 missiles. Lockheed can get an SM-2 launcher into the current 118-meter version, North noted, but a larger ship would be needed to install the bigger SM-6 model coming into service.

“SM-6 can go on the 125-meter and 140-meter,” he said, “and probably a SPY-1F [Aegis] radar or a derivative of [Raytheon’s] air missile defense radar [AMDR] if you want the full capability of the SM-6.”

The company included versions of its current COMBATSS-21 combat management system in responding to both RFIs. The system is a derivative of the Aegis combat system and uses a common code library.
 
Austal USA, builder of the Independence class LCS, also sent in bids.
 
“Austal has submitted a strong response,” company spokesman Terry O’Brien said on Thursday. “We are very excited to be involved in this process.”
 
Improvements over the Independence design, O’Brien said, include a towed array sonar, torpedoes, vertical launch anti-submarine rockets “and a tremendous aviation capability to support the MH-60 helicopter.” As with Lockheed, a vertical launch system able to launch Standard missiles and a 76mm gun in place of existing 57mm guns are included.
 
O’Brien said in April that Austal’s approach to modifying its LCS was not to scale it up, but rather to work with improved configurations, replacing areas currently reserved for interchangeable mission modules with permanently-installed systems. “Austal’s SSC incorporates significant offensive and defensive capability to support higher-end missions with the existing sea frame,” he said, adding that the is able to take either Aegis or AMDR radars.
 
It was not clear what combat system Austal USA is proposing. The company currently installs a system from GD AIS, based on the Thales Tacticos combat management system. “We can handle any other systems that can be chosen,” O’Brien said. “The Navy asked to provide that flexibility and we’re able to do that in our current hull form.
 
The Navy is known to have problems with the GD AIS system, but the company is still working on improvements. General Dynamics confirmed on Thursday that GD AIS submitted a response to the combat systems RFI, but would provide no further details.
 
Huntington Ingalls, as expected, also put in its bid. The company has been working to develop larger and more heavily-armed versions of the NSC — again, aimed primarily at foreign markets, but now focused on US Navy requirements.
 
“Ingalls has submitted an RFI response using a high performance, proven hull and propulsion system that is a lethal, survivable and affordable design for the small surface combatant,” spokesman Bill Glenn said. “Adding robust capabilities to a hull form that does not require additional modifications provides a ship that can be introduced to the fleet quickly and affordably with very low risk.”
 
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works also confirmed it submitted a response to the ship RFI, but spokesman Jim DeMartini declined to provide further details. The Maine shipbuilder is not building a small combatant, but is focused on construction of Arleigh Burke Aegis destroyers and larger Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers.
 
Bath, however, submitted a design for the US Coast Guard’s offshore patrol cutter that was one of three chosen this year for further development. The award, however, is under protest, with a decision expected in early June.
 
Raytheon, which makes components used by virtually every US Navy warship, also responded to the combat systems RFI.
 
“We believe we’ve provided a range of options and compelling solutions for their consideration,” said Raytheon spokeswoman Carolyn Beaudry. “The combination of our large system integrator expertise and depth of knowledge, from sensor to effector, allowed us to provide the full range of affordable, scalable solutions that meet SSC mission requirements, adaptable to any ship design.”
 
The SSC task force also is busy conducting workshops in fleet concentration areas to gather waterfront views. While the Navy would provide few details, members already have visited Norfolk, Virginia, and Pearl Harbor.
 
Submission of the RFIs, said Lt. Robert Myers, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, “completed an important step in the process that will inform the task force of industry designs and systems that will be considered in developing small surface combatant alternatives.
 
“Access to current market information,” he added, “is important in assessing feasibility and risk as the [task force] develops and evaluates ship design concepts, alternatives and acquisition plans.”

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 02:38:12 pm »
"Commentary: Tricky Waters of Comparing Shipbuilding Costs"
Jun. 16, 2014 - 02:31PM   | 
by Robert Holzer

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140616/DEFFEAT05/306160019/Commentary-Tricky-Waters-Comparing-Shipbuilding-Costs

Quote
As the US Navy’s Small Surface Combatant Task Force presses ahead to develop future ship options, the issue of comparative shipbuilding costs continues to raise concerns. This is particularly the case when attempting to compare costs between different types and classes of warships, sometimes acquired decades apart.

While it seems simple enough, in actuality it is very difficult to do correctly. Failure to fully understand this issue could lead to a kind of actuarial sea blindness.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert stood up the task force following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s decision to buy only 32 littoral combat ships, while directing the Navy to develop new options for a small surface combatant. Options publicly identified include continuing LCS as is, buying an upgraded version of existing LCS designs or building a new ship. The task force’s conclusions are due in July.

The issue of cost, more specifically life-cycle costs, is playing a huge role in the task force’s deliberations.

I am not a cost expert, but in talks with skilled practitioners of this arcane science, I have come away with several key truisms that seem to animate every discussion. These keys are not limited to the surface combatant task force’s work, but can be applied to the numerous other agencies, entities and research groups conducting separate reviews, reports and assessments of other Navy shipbuilding efforts.

■ Cost differences between old and new ship classes are huge and potentially misleading. The easiest course of action is to attempt to compare one ship class versus another class based simply on raw budget numbers. This leads to flawed analysis on several levels.

First, it ignores the time-value of money or shipbuilding inflation that often outpaces other sectors of the economy. That is why naval analysts at the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service are careful to compare ship costs in a common fiscal-year framework to all ships.

Second, new ships are burdened by higher costs and smaller datasets when compared with legacy ship classes. This is far more than an apples-to-oranges comparison. It’s more akin to comparing apples to anchors.

For example, comparing early LCS life-cycle costs and future cost projections to the mature Oliver Hazard Perry-class FFG 7 frigates will yield badly skewed results. The Perry-class frigates joined the fleet between 1977 and 1989 and have well-established and documented maintenance, support and training pipelines based on decades of steady use and “tweaking.” Moreover, these costs are accounted for by the budgets for Regional Maintenance Centers, the fleet or other maintenance entities, which appear to significantly lower the life-cycle costs for in-service frigates compared to ships like LCS, which is just joining the operating forces.

Finally, the lead-ship cost premium, which is often substantial, is not usually included in the life-cycle costs of older ships since that cost had long been amortized by follow-on ships.

LCS, on the other hand, being a new class is programmatically burdened by the early start-up costs for all of its maintenance, sustainment, training and support, which is spread only across the few ships deployed. This program situation significantly increases its apparent life-cycle costs. The Navy’s LCS program also bears the current lead-ship research-and-development costs for two separate ship designs.

■Accounting for total costs between ship classes is difficult. The differences between the total amount of data available between legacy and new ship classes can be significant and how that information is used or interpreted can also yield false conclusions. Legacy class ships, like the Navy’s CG 47 Ticonderoga-class cruisers, for example, no longer have many of the myriad maintenance and modernization costs contained within their operations and sustainment budget.

Critical pieces such as development of the Aegis combat system, its procurement, successive baseline improvements and training are accounted for in separate budgets. Much of the maintenance support is likewise budgeted for in separate Navy accounts that are not reflected in the CG 47 classes’ total life-cycle costs. As a result, the life-cycle costs for cruisers may appear to be much lower than what they actually are.

■ Impact of ship learning curves must be taken into account. It is not uncommon for the fifth (or tenth, for that matter) ship of a class to experience a significant decrease in the number of man-hours required to deliver a ship to the Navy, all other elements (e.g., design alterations) held constant. Comparing the life-cycle costs for a mature ship class well into its acquisition (if not decommissioning) phase versus a new construction shipbuilding program will make the new ship appear vastly more expensive than it truly is.

This same equation also applies to shipbuilding programs, like the DDG 51, which is now into an improved Flight IIA version, where virtually all first-ship-of class costs have been captured by Flight I ships and no longer are “counted” by some accounting practices.

In addition, the cost of Flight IIA ships now with more than 30 hulls of experience have all but averaged-out costs that new programs such as LCS are still incurring as they advance along the shipbuilding learning curve. All of the start-up costs for new programs like testing and training, infrastructure, military construction and training simulators have likewise been amortized over more ships and a longer time frame when compared to new ship starts.

Defense acquisition is always complicated and naval shipbuilding is an incredibly complex process. The late-Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer, the “father” of Aegis, frequently noted that nothing, not even the Space Shuttle, was as difficult as building a warship. A successful shipbuilding program requires the minute orchestration of millions of different parts and materials to integrate these disparate parts into a warship. The same discipline, accuracy and precision are similarly needed for ship costs. Comparing apples to anchors is not an acceptable standard. ■

Robert Holzer is a Senior National Security Manager with Gryphon Technologies. The opinions expressed here are his own.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2014, 05:08:41 pm »
"NavWeek: Speed Quest"
by Michael Fabey in Ares

Jul 1, 2014

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/navweek-speed-quest

Quote

As the U.S. Navy revisits many of the requirements for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), it’s certainly time to reconsider the vessel’s need-for-speed concept. There is no question the Navy needs a fast ship for some of the proposed LCS missions –- the issue is just how fast the ship needs to go, and what is the service willing to give up for the ability to zip across the seas? Alternately,  perhaps the Pentagon should consider a whole new vessel as its maritime sprinter.

Officially, the LCS goes above 40 knots. When I was on LCS 1 USS Freedom last year, the ship was pushing it near 50, leaving any questions about its speed-demon status well in its wake.

Now, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s directive to make the LCS successor more lethal and survivable, Navy officials say they can dial that speed back a bit. But how much? The low 40s? High 30s. Mid-30s?

Navy officials will most certainly review Freedom deployment data from its Singapore swing last year before deciding that number. But they also should review –- and I’d like to think they would actually be re-reviewing -– some earlier reports on this Navy speed quest and the results thus far.

“The pursuit for high speed itself demonstrates an inherent bias toward the attribute of speed and the neglect of range and payload requirements,” writes David Rudko in his March 2003 thesis, “Logistical Analysis of the Littoral Combat Ship,” prepared for the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, Calif.

“Ideally, a small warship would be inexpensive and fast, carry a large payload and have high endurance and good sea keeping,” he writes in the published thesis. “Unfortunately, the current state of technology prevents this combination.”

He notes, “Throughout history, the United States Navy has invested a considerable amount of time and money in the development of high-speed ships.” Looking back to the 1960s, he writes, “The Asheville class experienced many problems throughout its life cycle.  In the design process, the tradeoff between speed, payload and range was a great source of debate and resulted in delayed construction.  Each ship cost approximately $5 million, five times greater than the initial $1 million projection, and high maintenance costs made them expensive to operate once commissioned. Additionally, sea keeping problems prevented them from capitalizing on the high speeds for which they were designed. The changes in missions they experienced throughout their service life demonstrated their inability to successfully fulfill the primary mission for which they were designed.”

Then came the Pegasus class missile hydrofoils. “The initial concept was to establish a squadron of missile hydrofoils, each carrying a different modular weapons package, capable of functioning collectively as one multi-mission conventional warship.”

He points out, “Due to the inability to incorporate a modular weapons capability into the missile hydrofoil design, the squadron concept never came to fruition and the missile hydrofoil’s limited role was not in keeping with the Navy’s emphasis on multi-purpose ships that were more adaptable to the full spectrum of naval operations.”

He says, “The more appropriate question is whether or not it is possible to overcome the limitations which have, throughout history, prevented previous high-speed ship designs from successfully capitalizing on any value that speed potentially offers.”

Rudko is not the only one to raise such questions. “Persistence in the quest for speed has involved hundreds if not thousands of scientists and engineers over many decades dedicated to developing new ship and vehicle technology to give the Navy credible high-speed options,” say Dennis Clark, William Ellsworth, and John Meyer in their 2004 report for the U.S. Navy’s Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, “The Quest for Speed at Sea.”

They write of the focus after World War II, “when the U.S. Navy began to seriously consider the value of proposed concepts for planing craft, multihulls, hydrofoils, hovercraft, and hybrids,” noting, “In the period 1970 to 1983, 327 fast attack units and 1,471 patrol craft were constructed and exported worldwide. Their excellent cost-effectiveness ratio, simplicity of operation, miniaturized electronics, and relatively heavy firepower attracted the attention of many navies, particularly those operating in restricted waters. The modern planing hull now has better seakeeping characteristics with little sacrifice in calm water performance.”

In the mid-1970s, they say, “The U.S. Navy undertook an advanced planing hull research program aimed at improving seakeeping while retaining as much speed as possible and improving the lift-to-drag ratio of the hull through the mid-speed range.”

But, they say, “The aggressive and successful planning hull research program initiated in the early 1970s subsided in the late 1970s, when the U.S. Navy decided to emphasize acquisition of large combatants capable of transiting the world’s oceans. With this philosophy, problems can arise when we need to engage in limited warfare in areas where the larger ships cannot operate close to shore, or in the inner harbors or rivers.”

So the Navy pulled back from the research at the time when it really needed to step up such studies. “While many of the high-speed vehicle types described above have been in existence for many years, we have limited experience in their application in actual naval missions,” they report.

Another Carderock report from the Naval Warfare Center, the High-Speed, Small Naval Vessel Technology Development Plan, says, “It is unlikely that the full matrix of technologies will be developed... . Naval high-speed (40 to 60 knots) missions require extrapolation beyond current capabilities in critical areas such as structural loads, resistance and powering, and seakeeping.”

One program that proved, in the end, to be somewhat successful was the Cyclone-class patrol coastal (PC) ship. After essentially being dumped by the Navy -– with some of the ships going to the Coast Guard for a bit -– the vessels now are being used in a variety of missions and getting more lethal weaponry.

But the PCs are even less lethal and survivable than the LCSs. If Navy officials are going to consider those types of ships, it should look at whole new fast-ship concepts, considering different types of seacraft altogether.

“Efforts to solve the seakeeping and ride comfort problems led, in the 1960s, to the small-waterplane-area twin-hull (Swath) ship configuration,” Clark, Ellsworth and Meyer write. “Although the Swath ship is an important development with a number of desirable features, it is not currently considered a high-speed concept.”

There’s a company in Portsmouth, N.H., looking to change that. Juliet Marine Systems has developed a prototype small-attack craft based on the Swath concept that looks something like a sea-skimming F-117 called Ghost that it is touting as a “poor man’s LCS.”

The boats are certainly portable –- you can fit four of them in the well deck of an LPD 17 San Antonio Class amphibious ship.

The U.S. Navy has discussed the vessel with the company, CEO Gregory Sancoff says, but there’s been nothing official. There has, however, been international interest, he says.

“We have had many discussions about building a Corvette-sized Ghost to carry a crew and sophisticated weapons systems and missiles,” he says. “Ghost would be capable of operating in denied-access areas without detection, due to vessel design and by utilizing RAM (radar-absorbing material) coatings.”

He notes, “Ghost today can carry over 80 of Lockheed Martin’s Nemesis missiles in an enclosed weapons bay.”

The boat provides a huge advantage, he says, as missile thrust does not have to be redirected but can vertically exhaust in an effective and safe manner. “Ghost fires the missiles from an enclosed weapons bay and the thrust is directed down between the hulls, hidden from satellites and cooled by the ocean waters. The craft is ideal for missions requiring the ability to fire and sprint.”

Countries like Qatar do not need a destroyer or LCS, he says. “They need smaller tactical platforms that bring all the capabilities of LCS in a smaller package to protect their country and escort exports ships. Ghost can also carry two Mark 48 lightweight torpedoes if necessary.”

Of course, this late in the game, it appears unlikely such a novel concept has a ghost of a chance of being an LCS stand-in for the successor warship missions.


Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 09:23:32 pm »
" Littoral Combat Ship Will Be Modified, If Not Replaced"
August 2014
By Dan Parsons

Source:
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/August/Pages/LittoralCombatShipWillBeModifiedIfNotReplaced.aspx

Quote
After authorizing construction of at least 20 littoral combat ships, the Navy may soon dramatically change course on its decade-long, multi-billion dollar experiment to build a relatively inexpensive surface combatant.

The LCS program has suffered severe criticism for being under-gunned and thin-skinned, outstripping cost estimates and experiencing performance issues on initial deployments. It has also enjoyed a dogged defense by both uniformed and civilian Navy officials.

But in April the Navy released two requests for information for technologies to improve LCS designs or replace them outright. The first asked for existing, mature design concepts for totally new ships. The second solicited systems and technologies at the component level that could be readily included in future ships.

Joe North, who heads littoral combat systems for Lockheed Martin, said, “I bet you it woke up the entire planet. I bet you every shipyard across Europe, which is very stagnant right now … was ready to react ahead of that. The Navy probably got a lot delivered.”

Lockheed is one of two incumbent producers of the LCS. It has contracts to build up to 10 of its traditional monohull Freedom-class ships to be included in a fleet with Austal USA’s futuristic triple-hulled Independence-class vessels.

A report from the small surface combatant task force, that will review industry responses was due July 31. The document will outline alternatives to the service’s ongoing littoral combat ship program, including modifying the two existing LCS designs or buying a new ship.

Because of the tight schedule, John Burrow, executive director of Marine Corps Systems Command and appointed task force director, was unavailable for comment. However, Burrow outlined the RFI process during a recorded roundtable with reporters in April.

“Why are we going out to industry? We want to collect their ideas and thoughts that they certainly have because … it will give us a better idea, I think, of what is technically feasible in the timeframes we are talking about,” he said.

“It will give our team a good idea of what the risks are and help understand the cost associated with many of the systems and concepts that are going to be provided to us,” he added.

The request for information, which has since been made public, states the Navy is “interested in market information pertinent to a future small surface combatant (including modified littoral combat ships).”

The Navy called for input from “experienced shipbuilders, ship design agents and large system integrators on how their ship design supports the roles and missions of a small surface combatant.” Proposals were to include information on whole-ship design and cost drivers of mature, commercially available technologies and vessels.

“The Navy is interested in estimated cost and schedule information for designing, building, testing and delivering the first ship and a notional class of 20 small surface combatants,” the RFI stated.

Both documents include the caveat that the government has no intention of awarding contracts based on the information provided by industry. Burrow emphasized that the process did not amount to a defacto analysis of alternatives or a competition. Neither will the task force make a decision or recommendation on how the Navy should proceed, he said. Navy leadership, including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, will make that call.

“We’re developing capability concepts — mission and capability alternatives for a small surface combatant, combined with [concepts of operations] associated with those,” he added. “At no point in time have I or anybody on the team asserted that we were going to be able to come in and say, ‘Here’s what the ship is going to look like.’”

The task force plans to rate various proposals based on their ability to conduct the four primary missions for which LCS was originally intended: air warfare, surface warfare, undersea warfare and mine hunting. Attributes like speed, range and endurance also will be weighed, as well as the mission capabilities of each proposal, Burrow said.

A cadre of Navy officers assigned to the LCS program is leading the effort to determine mission profile concepts, Burrow said. A design team will use those concepts to recommend modifications to existing Independence- and Freedom-class ships, he said.

The Navy’s ultimate decision includes an “affordability target” that Burrow did not specify. The task force simply will tabulate the estimated cost of various technological and ship proposals and present them to Navy leadership. That information will inform deliberations on the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016 budget, which will specify the financials for an ongoing small surface combatant program, Burrow said.

To correct deficiencies identified during deployments of both the Independence and Freedom to the Pacific, improvements are being made to the ships already sailing and their follow-on vessels. Lockheed Martin and Austal USA are each contracted for construction of up to 10 ships. The Navy had planned to purchase as many as 52 LCSs, but the fleet was trimmed in the fiscal year 2014 budget to just 32.

Both companies have submitted proposals to the task force in hopes of securing ongoing construction contracts to keep their shipyards humming and workforces intact.

Austal spokeswoman Michelle Bowden provided a statement from the company regarding the RFI.

“Austal has submitted a strong response to the Navy’s RFI on the small surface combatant,” the statement read. “Austal’s small surface combatant incorporates significant offensive and defensive capability to support higher-end missions with the existing sea frame.”

The company has offered improvements to LCS 2 that include anti-submarine towed-array sonar, torpedoes, vertically launched rockets and a “tremendous aviation capability to support the MH-60 helicopter,” Bowden said.

Other armament options for surface warfare include anti-ship missiles and a 76 mm remotely operated gun. Austal also proposed installing vertical launched surface-to-air missiles and greater radar detection range, she said.

“We are very excited to be involved in this process,” the Austal statement read. “It is a chance for the Navy and industry teams to work together to maximize the capabilities of the LCS class, but more importantly, permitting the Navy to benefit from the tremendous investment by industry and Navy team in the LCS class while leveraging mature designs and production processes.”

The ships’ relatively light armor and weak offensive and defensive capabilities have been major concerns among critics of the current LCS variants. In a report most recently updated in June, Ronald O’Rourke, a specialist in naval affairs at the Congressional Research Service, detailed the survivability deficiencies of both designs.

“While both seaframe variants are fast and highly maneuverable, they are lightly armed for ships of this size and possess no significant offensive capability without the planned [surface warfare] increment IV mission package,” O’Rourke wrote. That and other capability packages that were envisioned to be plugged into the LCS are not yet available.

“They have very modest self-defense capabilities,” he added.

North said Lockheed Martin has designs on hand for a scalable, modular ship that can accept upgraded mission capabilities including command-and-control systems, new guns and munitions and varying crew sizes to suit the Navy’s evolving needs.

The various hull lengths, ranging from 67 meters to 140 meters long were initially intended as a menu of options for international customers, North said during a media day at the company’s Arlington, Virginia, offices. The existing LCS 1 is 118 meters long.

“We did answer the mail on that … with options to upgrade the existing Freedom-class ship,” North said. “We have a lot of flexibility in the hull. We’re carrying around 100 metric tons of capability — empty space right now — for the mission packages.”

Lockheed stands by its steel hull as survivable in high-threat environments. Critics have asserted that modern anti-ship missiles would force it out to sea beyond the littorals where it is designed to operate.

“We’ve looked at the vulnerability aspect. Between the sensors we’ve got [and] the capabilities we’ve already got put into the ship, we’re very confident that all requirements today are met, but if there are additional things [Navy leaders] want to consider, we certainly have the flexibility with that hull,” North said.

The company also pitched some new technologies in its RFI response. The proposal included options for new sensors and additional firepower like the installation of launchers for AGM-114L radar-guided Longbow missiles, he said.

“The RFI is just [asking] what else can we do?” North said. “We looked at it and said … we can put more enhanced radar capability on it. We can put different guns — we’ve always been gun-agnostic.”

Adding a vertical launch system would give the ship the ability to fire several types of munitions including the evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missile, he said. The existing LCS 1 could accept between three and 30 vertical missile launchers.

The two existing LCS designs will be used as baseline for capability, performance and cost, Burrow said. The task force will then decide if the Navy’s desired capability improvements “can be incorporated into a modified LCS, or does it drive you to a new ship design?” he said.

“The good news about LCS is we have a pretty good idea of what it costs to build an LCS, and we’ve got a good idea of what it is going to cost to modify,” he said. The per-ship cost has hovered around $300 million since fiscal year 2006.

Companies that responded to the RFI insist they can accomplish the LCS missions for far less. Juliet Marine Systems CEO Greg Sancoff said the company’s Ghost stealth patrol boat could outperform both existing ships for just $10 million a copy.

“We have been called, by some smaller countries, a poor-man’s LCS,” Sancoff said. “It is really designed to be a fighting vessel, like a jet aircraft on the water. It is all fuel, all engines, all payload.”

The Ghost’s gyro-stabilized dual-pontoon, supercavitating hull design allows the vessel to run at top speed through 10-foot seas and fire precision weapons, Sancoff said. It can also perform mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and other missions LCS was designed to handle. Each can be armed with up to 90 Nemesis missiles, a 20 mm Gatling gun, two towed arrays and four torpedoes. The current version is designed for fleet protection with a crew of between three and five sailors. Plans are in the works to build a corvette-sized Ghost of 150 feet or more that would cost around $50 million per vessel, Sancoff said.

“Ghost can be utilized almost immediately for conducting the same missions as LCS,” he said. The company is offering its craft to international customers including Bahrain, Qatar, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Japan that have near-shore national security interests. For those nations that have little need for a blue-water navy, the small, affordable craft can be bought in large numbers to perform maritime border patrol and defense, he said.

Sancoff said the U.S. Navy is slow to adopt smaller craft for inshore operations because senior leaders lust after large-hulled oceangoing vessels. That is driving the ongoing commitment to LCS, despite its initial shortcomings and high cost, he said.

“As you know, the Navy likes big ships,” Sancoff said. “Admirals want to stand on bridges of big ships. That’s why we have LCS. Our country has not readily adapted to new technologies in hydrodynamics.”

Burrow said the task force considered whole-ship designs that are in production and mature designs with a “high degree of fidelity.”

“These things are ideas and concepts that industry should already have,” he said. “We’re looking at everything.”

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2014, 01:26:03 pm »
No Report Expected Just Yet on LCS Alternative
Jul. 30, 2014 - 05:59PM   | 
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140730/DEFREG02/307300026/No-Report-Expected-Just-Yet-LCS-Alternative

Quote

WASHINGTON — For those of you with July 31 marked on your calendars as a red-letter day in the US Navy’s Small Surface Combatant (SSC) program — hold that thought.

It appears the Navy is not yet prepared to begin talking about what’s next for the SSC — the alternative to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) that may or may not look something like what’s already being produced.

By order of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a special SSC task force was convened earlier this year to examine the LCS program and recommend potential ways ahead — whether to pick one of the two existing designs now in production, modify either of those designs to a more powerful, “up-gunned” variant, or to consider an entirely different design.

The deadline to submit a report is Thursday, but Pentagon sources are saying not all senior Navy officials have yet been briefed on the task force’s findings, and the Navy is not commenting for the record.

“It’s still an internal process that will be part of our 2016 budget deliberations,” is all Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, spokesperson for the Navy’s acquisition directorate, would say Wednesday.

Even after top Navy officials sign off on the recommendations, they still have to be reviewed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and presented to Hagel, who has directed that decisions involving the future of the program be incorporated into the 2016 budget submission.

John Burrow, the senior executive service official heading the task force, spoke to reporters April 30 about what to expect from the group’s efforts.

“My job is to give design alternatives that include design concepts or capability concepts, design alternatives, cost and performance,” he said during a media roundtable at the Pentagon. “I want to make sure everybody understands, I’m not coming in at the end of the day to say here’s your ship design and here’s your point design and this is what we want to do. That’s not what we’re doing.

“What we are going to do is present a few capability concepts, and with those capability concepts we’ll be able to talk specifically about here’s what it means for an LCS Independence mod, here’s what it will mean for LCS Freedom mod, here’s what it will mean from a new ship design. Here’s the technical feasibility and risk associated with it, and here’s what we think the costs are.

“At the end of this game I’m not going to come in and say here’s your ship and here’s your justification for your ship,” Burrow said April 30. “What I am going to come in and do and say is, if these are the missions and capabilities that are of value for a small surface combatant, then here’s what the design and costs associated with those are. And then that will feed the 2016 deliberations.

“What we are doing is coming up and saying for these capabilities and missions — which will be a set of several, three, four, maybe even five — this is what is feasible and not feasible. Then our leadership will make the decision on one, is this capability that we need? If it’s not, then they’ll decide to do something else. If it is a capability that we need, then here’s the next step that we need to take to pursue that.”

It is not clear whether Navy or Pentagon officials have a plan to talk about the report in public.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2014, 11:05:35 am »
"Navy Won’t Discuss LCS Follow-on Taskforce Results Until Next Budget"
By: Sam LaGrone
August 1, 2014 1:00 PM

Source:
http://news.usni.org/2014/08/01/navy-wont-discuss-lcs-follow-taskforce-results-next-budget

Quote
The results of the Navy taskforce for a follow-up hull to the Littoral Combat Ship are in, but the service will remain mum on the findings until they’re integrated into next year’s budget, the service said on Thursday.

Instead of speaking to what the Small Surface Combatant Task Force found in their four month study, the service will use the findings to inform the multitude of Department of Navy offices in selecting a ship that will supersede the two variants LCS as the service’s next small service combatant.

“Because the task force alternatives will be considered as part of Fiscal Year 2016 budget deliberations, the Navy will not comment publically on the report’s findings until budget decisions within DoD are finalized,” read a statement from, Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), the Navy’s chief shipbuilder.

A Navy official told USNI News that the service could address some of the process the task force used to reach its conclusion but not the results.

The Navy was mandated in February by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to, “submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.”

Under the mandate, the Small Surface Combatant Task Force evaluated:

    A modified design of an existing LCS.
    Existing ship designs.
    A new ship design.

The task force also examined ships systems and were provided a cost target for the new effort.

The product of the study wasn’t designed to select a final hull design, but rather survey a range of options evaluating capability and cost for the future small surface combatant, USNI News understands.

The current Flight 0 LCS program — built evenly between Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class and Austal USA’s Independence class- will be capped at 32 hulls but the Navy will eventually buy a total of 52 ships at roughly the same size.

Given the current strain on the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, an entirely new ship design for the LCS follow-on maybe outside the range of affordability and a variant of one of the two existing LCS hulls maybe the Navy’s most cost effective option.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2014, 04:46:25 pm »
"Navy Ready for Briefing on Small Surface Combatant, SecDef Not
Marines: Base New Amphib on LPD 17 Design"
Oct. 2, 2014 - 03:45AM   | 
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141002/DEFREG02/310020034/Navy-Ready-Briefing-Small-Surface-Combatant-SecDef-Not

Quote

WASHINGTON — After months of preparation, the US Navy was set Thursday morning to brief Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on its recommendations for a new Small Surface Combatant (SSC), and a delegation led by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus waited to make a personal presentation.

“Everything’s ready to go,” one source said of the Navy’s presentation.

But the SecDef never appeared. According to several Pentagon sources, he was delayed by a prior engagement, and the briefing is waiting to be re-scheduled — no easy task, given the hectic schedules of many of the principles.

The results of an SSC Task Force charged with coming up with a more heavily-armed warship to succeed the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) have been one of the more eagerly-awaited secrets in naval circles this year. Those in the know have been exceptionally tight-lipped, and those outside the loop hope that with the Hagel briefing completed — and the recommendations approved — the Navy will be forthcoming about where its small surface warship programs are headed.

Decisions on the SSC need to be made soon — in time, Hagel has directed, “to inform” the 2016 budget, due to be sent to Congress in February.

Meanwhile, a decision on another shipbuilding program could also be close to finalization. The Navy and Marine Corps have promised to decide whether the next amphibious ship design, dubbed LX(R), will be based on existing LPD 17 San Antonio-class ships or developed from other designs. The Navy isn’t planning to award a contract for the ships until 2020, but industry needs to know soon to begin work on competitive designs.

Pentagon sources said Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, in a recent letter to Mabus, is recommending the new ship be based on the LPD 17 hull form.

To keep the production line hot and costs down, Amos also reportedly recommends buying LPD 28, the yet-to-be-named 12th ship in the San Antonio class, a ship the Navy has not requested but three of four key congressional committees support buying. Congress so far has provided partial funding, but the Navy is declining to order the ship until full funding is available.

Plans call for the Navy to buy 11 LX(R)s, each costing about a third of the price of an LPD 17.

This summer, Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition official, told Congress the service had completed an LX(R) analysis of alternatives study.

“Affordability will be a key focus for this ship class,” Stackley told the House Seapower subcommittee on July 25. “Industry will be involved in identifying cost drivers and proposing cost reduction initiatives to drive affordability into the design, production, operation, and maintenance of this ship class.”

The choices for the LX(R) design, he said, were for a modified LPD 17 derivative, a foreign design, or an entirely new, clean sheet design.

Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding, builders of San Antonio class, has developed variants of the LPD 17 that it calls Flight II. Those designs strip off significant portions of the LPD 17’s superstructure, replacing many features of the ship with lower-cost alternatives, but keeping the basic hull form and machinery spaces, along with its large flight deck.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2014, 08:43:07 am »
http://defense-update.com/20140824_super_ghost.html

Quote
Plans are to build a corvette-sized 46 meter (150 ft) ‘super Ghost’ at a cost of about $50 million per vessel – six times cheaper than the $300 million per-ship cost of a current Freedom-class and Independence-class littoral combat ship. Such a vessel could operate with LCS or with other oceangoing naval vessels, providing a more affordable, agile and survivable naval strike forces.
The sole imperative of a government, once instituted, is to survive.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2014, 10:00:27 am »
http://defense-update.com/20140824_super_ghost.html

Quote
Plans are to build a corvette-sized 46 meter (150 ft) ‘super Ghost’ at a cost of about $50 million per vessel – six times cheaper than the $300 million per-ship cost of a current Freedom-class and Independence-class littoral combat ship. Such a vessel could operate with LCS or with other oceangoing naval vessels, providing a more affordable, agile and survivable naval strike forces.

That would be the plan of Juliet Marine Systems, the article makes it seem as though the United States Navy has plans to acquire the "super Ghost."

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Re: Small Surface Combatantooooooooooooooooooooppoooooop Force oppo
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2014, 07:02:03 pm »
"Lockheed Outlines Post Littoral Combat Ship Pitch
By: Sam LaGrone
Published: June 10, 2014 5:42 PM
Updated: June 10, 2014 6:08 PM

Source:
http://news.usni.org/2014/06/10/8077

Quote
Lockheed Martin outlined the range of options they presented to the Navy as part of the Pentagon mandated study into a follow-on ship to the Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships in a media briefing on Monday.

Lockheed — as part two April requests for information (RFI) from the Small Surface Combatant Task Force — submitted a variety of options based on their current Freedom-class (LCS-1) design.

Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ship Systems for Lockheed, emphasized the sea frame ability to accommodate increasingly sophisticated radars and weapons systems within the constraints of the basic design.

“We have a lot of flexibility in the hull. If you remember, we’re carrying around 180 metric tons of capability, empty space right now, for the mission packages, so depending on what they’re looking at we have a lot of capability in the hull from a naval architecture standpoint,” North told reporters on Monday.
“From a performance standpoint, we can add to the ship and make [systems] permanent or if you want to look at separate packages.”

Part of those options include a much more robust anti-air warfare (AAW) capability with permanent vertical launch system (VLS) cells capable of holding anti-air missiles and much more capable radar.

“[Increased] radar capability is everything from solid-state more capable rotators to a high end capability —the hull allows that,” North said.

As part of its international offering for ships based on the Freedom hull, Lockheed has offered a SPY-1F air defense radar — an 8 foot diameter version of the radar on U.S. destroyers sized for frigates.

An upgunned Freedom — at its current length of 118 meters — could also include 4 to 32 VLS cells. Each cell would be capable of fielding four Raytheon RIM-162D Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM), North said.

“[VLS] is a modular package in itself because it gives [the ship] the capability to launch several types of missiles including ESSM, which is one of the things they’ll absolutely come back and look for to give the ship some more self protection… as a permanent installation,” he said.

Critics of the current Freedom and Austal USA’s Independence classes of ships have zeroed in on a perceived lack of offensive capability for the two ships.

Austal and Lockheed have developed preliminary designs of their ships with VLS for international sale.

In remarks earlier this year, then acting deputy defense Christine Fox implied the current LCS variants were “niche” platforms and the Navy needed tougher ship.

“We need more ships with the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary,” Fox said in February, just ahead of a Pentagon announcement forcing the Navy to take a second look at the LCS program.

As part of the coversheet for its response to the Navy’s RFI, Lockheed included a Freedom variant with a quad cell VLS firing what appear to be Raytheon Standard Missile (SM) 2.

In the surface-to-surface realm, North said the ship could accommodate either the current BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun or a larger Mark 45 five-inch gun. The range of offerings did also factor in Naval Sea Systems Command decision to integrate the Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L for the fast attack craft/ fast inshore attack (FAC/FIAC) threat.

The Flight 0 Freedom and Independence LCS will be manned by 90 sailors for surface warfare (SuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasure (MCM) missions by a series of mission packages that can be swapped out of the ship depending on the circumstances.

The Navy’s original plan was to build 52 LCS but cut the Flight 0 program at 32 — a reduction of 20 ships as part of the current reexamination of the LCS begun in February under mandate from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The RFIs were part of the work of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force tasked to evaluate other options beyond Flight 0 LCS. The group was mandated to examine: A modified design of an existing LCS, existing ship designs and a new ship design.

“The RFI will ask for pretty specific information that will give us insight to the ship integration requirement, the performance, what are the primary, second and third order costs associated with [concepts],” John Burrow, executive director of the Marine Corps Systems Command and current head of the Small Surface Combatant Task Force told reporters in April.
“It’s a fairly detailed list of information that we’re looking for.”

The task force is due to submit their findings by the end of July.

Given tightening Pentagon budgets, an entirely new ship design is unlikely, however North speculated that several European yards have likely submitted information for the RFIs.

“I can imagine every shipyard across Europe — which is very stagnant and a lot of them have designs — [submitted a packet],” North said.
“I bet you woke up the entire planet.”

An artist's conception for two variants of the Freedom-class LCS design provided to USNI News. Lockheed Martin Image

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2014, 01:17:04 pm »
"US Combat Ship Decision Coming in 'Very Near Future'"
Nov. 7, 2014 - 03:45AM   | 
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141107/DEFREG02/311070021/US-Combat-Ship-Decision-Coming-Very-Near-Future-

Quote
WASHINGTON — Senior US Navy leaders have made their final presentations to the Pentagon’s top leadership on their choice for a small surface combatant (SSC), and a decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on what sort of ship to build after the littoral combat ship (LCS) could come soon.

“The secretary took another meeting by Navy leaders during the last week of October,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday. “The purpose of the meeting was to review the Navy’s recommendation for the way forward. The secretary expressed his gratitude for the hard work and analysis that went into forming that recommendation and assured Navy leadership that he would be rendering a decision in the very near future.”

Asked to confirm if Hagel now had all the information he needed to render a decision, Kirby added, “we do not anticipate that he requires more at this point.”

The future course of the LCS program has been in doubt since February, when Hagel directed the Navy to develop a more heavily armed warship — the SSC — to succeed the politically troubled LCS. A decision on the form of the SSC is to be made, Hagel directed, in time “to inform” the 2016 budget submission, due to be sent to Congress in February 2015.

The Navy presented its initial findings to Hagel on Oct. 6 in a meeting attended by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work; Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics; and Jamie Morin, the director of cost assessment and program evaluation.

Unusually, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore also was in attendance. Gilmore has long been a critic of the LCS program, particularly regarding survivability issues, and has heavily influenced Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expected to chair the Senate Armed Services Committee when the new Congress is seated.

Meanwhile, the LCS program itself is moving forward. The Fort Worth is to leave San Diego later this month to begin a 16-month Western Pacific deployment — the second such LCS cruise. The Freedom-class LCS Detroit, of the Lockheed Martin variant, was launched Oct. 18, and another ship, the Independence-class Montgomery, will be christened Saturday at Austal USA.

The Navy expects to double the number of ships in service during 2015 when four more ships are delivered, bringing the active total to eight.

Twenty-four LCSs are either in service, under construction or on contract. Another eight ships are expected to be ordered based on existing designs. The switchover to the SSC, Hagel has directed, is to begin no later than the 33rd ship to be ordered.

It’s expected the Navy will call the ships something other than LCSs or SSCs — perhaps light frigates or corvettes.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2014, 05:04:28 pm »
Model of Lockheed Martin Small Surface Combatant (SSC) concept, also known as Surface Combat Ship (SCS), based on the Freedom-class LCS.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141107/DEFREG02/311070021/US-Combat-Ship-Decision-Coming-Very-Near-Future-
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 05:07:31 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2014, 08:45:42 pm »
Lockheed Martin Surface Combat Ship (SCS) brochure.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2014, 09:59:00 pm »
Lockheed Martin Surface Combat Ship (SCS) brochure.

Interesting looks like it packs a pretty good offensive and defensive punch.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2014, 09:36:51 am »
Haven't seen anything from General Dynamics/Austal USA concerning the Small Surface Combatant Task Force. Are they pitching the Multi-Mission Combatant configuration of the Independence-class?

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2014, 09:56:08 am »
I stand corrected:

"Navy begins weighing future of littoral combat ship; or whether to replace it"

by Michael Finch II | mfinch@al.com By Michael Finch II | mfinch@al.com
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on August 01, 2014 at 12:42 PM, updated August 01, 2014 at 2:06 PM

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MOBILE, Alabama -- It's judgment day for the littoral combat ship.

The July 31 deadline has passed for a task force of U.S. Navy officials to collect information for a new or improved small surface combatant. In a released statement the Navy said it will begin reviewing the preliminary findings that will decide the future of the littoral combat ship, or whether to replace it.

"Because the task force alternatives will be considered as part of (the fiscal year 2016 budget) deliberations, the Navy will not comment publicly on the report's findings until budget decisions within the defense department are finalized," said Sean J. Stackley, assistant Navy secretary for research, development and acquisition.

The Navy requested information in April from defense contractors and shipbuilders, casting a much wider net outside the two incumbent prime contractors: Austal USA and Lockheed Martin.

Austal's shipyard in Mobile builds the Independence class littoral combat ship, an aluminum trimaran that's 419-foot-long. The Marinette, Wis.-based shipbuilder Marinette Marine constructs the Freedom class version, a 388-foot-long steel monohull.

In response to the Navy's request Austal submitted ideas to improve each of the ship's three mission packages: 

    Anti-Submarine Warfare: Towed array sonar, torpedoes, vertically launched anti-submarine rocket and a tremendous aviation capability to support the MH-60 helicopter. 

    Surface Warfare: Surface to surface missile system, 76mm gun and remotely-operated smaller caliber guns.

    Air Warfare: A vertically launched surface to air missile, C2 (command and control) capability for a much greater radar detection range to detect and respond to threats at a greater range.

"Austal has submitted a strong response to the Navy's RFI on the Small Surface Combatant," the company said in a released statement. "Austal's Small Surface Combatant incorporates significant offensive and defensive capability to support higher end missions with the existing sea frame."

The program was designed to foster competition between the two companies, allowing the Navy to reap the benefit of increased efficiency. But the littoral combat ship has been chided for its high cost, lacking firepower and performance issues while deployed abroad.

Mounting concerns prompted defense secretary Chuck Hagel to stop buying any more of the ships until the issues were addressed. Not long after his announcement the small surface combatant task force was formed to reassess the future of the program.   

The task force will tailor the new or modified vessel with the Navy's future needs to deal with emerging threats in East Asia. Hagel said in February that he wanted a "capable and lethal small surface combatant generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate."

In the meantime, two reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office were released, blasting the LCS program for the weight management issues, testing and uncertainties about cost.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2014, 11:07:14 am »
Model of Independence-class LCS armed with 18 Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) anti-ship missiles. Kongsberg proposal?

Source:
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?237160-Navy-Adds-Hellfire-Missiles-to-LCS/page4
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 11:10:04 am by Triton »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2014, 11:14:50 am »
Model of Freedom-class LCS armed with 12 Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) anti-ship missiles. Kongsberg proposal?


Source:
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?237160-Navy-Adds-Hellfire-Missiles-to-LCS/page4

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2014, 11:25:38 am »
Yes, both of those models came from Kongsberg at Sea-Air-Space 2014.  They reflect ways to up-arm the existing LCS surface warfare packages, not proposals for the Small Surface Combatant. 
 
 
 
 

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2014, 11:31:01 am »
Yes, both of those models came from Kongsberg at Sea-Air-Space 2014.  They reflect ways to up-arm the existing LCS surface warfare packages, not proposals for the Small Surface Combatant.

Thanks for the clarification, TomS.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2014, 04:36:29 am »
Looks like SSC with be 'uparmed' LCS I'm kind of disappointed was looking for a new and larger 'frigate'

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/12/lcs-lives-hagel-approves-bigger-gunned-upgrade/

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2014, 06:41:23 am »
I don't think anyone seriously should have expected a new hull design out of SSC.  I'm a bit surprised they still aren't fitting VLS of any sort, though.  That is going to keep LCS from carrying antiaircraft missiles other than RAM.  I hope RAM Block 2 is really, really good. 
 
It's also really odd that at least some of these ships will apparently have both 25mm guns AND 30mm guns (the 25mm being permanent and the 30mm being part of the ASuW mission equipment.) 
 
The slides describing the two fits are here:
 
http://news.usni.org/2014/12/11/gunned-lcs-hulls-picked-navys-next-small-surface-combatant
 
Edit: Images attached for posterity.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 07:14:18 am by TomS »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2014, 07:16:18 am »
I don't think anyone seriously should have expected a new hull design out of SSC.  I'm a bit surprised they still aren't fitting VLS of any sort, though.  That is going to keep LCS from carrying antiaircraft missiles other than RAM.  I hope RAM Block 2 is really, really good. 
It could be really, really good but if you only have 8 of them on hand (if that) that's a problem.  I'd like to know why they couldn't put an 8-cell, SD length Mk41 with 32 ESSMs on board.  Seems like that would be a no-brainer.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2014, 07:41:11 am »
It could be really, really good but if you only have 8 of them on hand (if that) that's a problem.  I'd like to know why they couldn't put an 8-cell, SD length Mk41 with 32 ESSMs on board.  Seems like that would be a no-brainer.

The issue probably isn't the VLS istelf but fire control and the associated combat direction system.  Adding 3-D radar is a start, but adding illuminators and the necessary processing and control consoles in the CIC would mean a bunch more complexity (cost) and manning (also cost).  I'm sure that's what drove the omission.  It just strikes me as incredibly "penny wise, pound foolish."

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2014, 08:24:42 am »
It just strikes me as incredibly "penny wise, pound foolish."

Especially given the cost of the ships.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2014, 08:58:34 am »
I am still left wondering if the Navy would have been better off going with one of the Huntington Ingalls Patrol Frigate concepts instead of upgrading the LCS into a frigate. I agree with you gentleman that the plan does seem penny wise, and pound foolish.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 09:01:52 am by Triton »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2014, 09:06:18 am »
Maybe just triggered by wish to get it through the debates in the senate easier ?
So it's "just an upgrade", sounding better than "a completely new ship".
From what I've read about US Navy history, those tactics have really a long tradition there...
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2014, 09:21:00 am »
Maybe just triggered by wish to get it through the debates in the senate easier ?
So it's "just an upgrade", sounding better than "a completely new ship".
From what I've read about US Navy history, those tactics have really a long tradition there...

F/A-18C -> F/A-18E
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2014, 09:33:37 am »
F/A-18C -> F/A-18E 

Ah, yes, although I had more in mind the monitors of the Amphitrite class back in the 1870s ...
As said, it's a long tradition, but, if at all, the "upgraded" LCS hopefully  won't take as long, as
the mentioned warships !
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2014, 09:34:13 am »
Not just Congress, the whole procurement process.
 
If they had decided to pursue a new hullform, they'd have had to compete the entire process, which would delay any procurement by several years.  They coudn't just pick the Ingalls frigate, they'd have to solicit alternative designs, give the various contenders time to complete them, and then take time to evaluate them in detail.  By simply "updating" an in-production design, they don't need to compete anything and can transition directly into the new version.  But that probably also contributes to the limited nature of the upgrades -- something extreme like adding SPY-1F would probably have triggered expensive and time-consuming competition as well. 
 
I am hoping that a good deal of the upgrade can be applied retroactively to at least some of the current LCS hulls.  It looks like the OTH antiship missile (probably NSM) can be done, as can the Hellfire fit.  The harder stuff is the ECM and sensor fit.  The armor and signature mods seem likely to be very hard to backfit.
 
I suspect that what we'll see eventually is the demise of the mission kits and various flights of LCS being permaently roled for specific missions like MCM.
 

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2014, 09:35:46 am »
It seems to me that you could get a half-way decent ASW frigate out of the LCS-2 platform, though it would involve pouring in a bunch more money.


Replace the 57mm with a 76mm SR


Add a 32 cell VLS w/ mixed ESSM, Whatever you replace Harpoon with, and ASROC.


From the proposal, the towed sonar array, the 25mm bushmasters.


Sensors to run all of the above.


Some nod towards increased survivability.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2014, 10:13:25 am »
It's not clear that there's really much choice between the 76mm and 57mm guns.  They end up with similar throw weights and effectiveness thanks to the difference in ROF.  No need to spend the money to swap them out.
 
A block of 32 VLS cells is probably too big for the LCS forward mission module bays.  More likely is around 16 cells (enough for 32 ESSM and 8 VLA).  The shorter tactical-length version would be great, though I don't think they are fully type-qualified for the USN (another cost).  Then add separate tubes for a few anti-ship missiles, most likely NSM.  There is a long-term plan for a really long-range AShM that will be VLS-compatible (likely with the strike-length version), but it's not ready yet and isn't really necessary for LCS.  NSM is basically off-the-shelf and I believe has some USN investment already (or maybe that's just Penguin?), so it might not need to be competed.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2014, 03:51:33 pm »
Austal USA SSC concept based on Independence-class LCS.

Source:
http://intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/12/a-closer-look-at-the-modified-lcs/

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2014, 04:00:54 pm »

Edit:
Wrongly, this post was first posted in the topic Littoral Combat Ship - Freedom/Independence


Looks like, the Navy wants that the LCS is changed from a corvette to a frigate.


Links:
http://intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/12/a-closer-look-at-the-modified-lcs/
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141211/DEFREG02/312110041/Split-Decision-New-US-Navy-Ship



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Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2014, 04:11:14 pm »
I was really hoping that the task force was going to recommend a new frigate.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2014, 04:41:09 pm »
I'm guessing Torpedo defense includes CAT? (Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo) http://news.usni.org/2013/06/20/navy-develops-torpedo-killing-torpedo

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2014, 04:59:16 pm »
I don't think anyone seriously should have expected a new hull design out of SSC.  I'm a bit surprised they still aren't fitting VLS of any sort, though.  That is going to keep LCS from carrying antiaircraft missiles other than RAM.  I hope RAM Block 2 is really, really good. 
It could be really, really good but if you only have 8 of them on hand (if that) that's a problem.  I'd like to know why they couldn't put an 8-cell, SD length Mk41 with 32 ESSMs on board.  Seems like that would be a no-brainer.

Can't the RAM launcher be reloaded at sea?  I don't know what timeframe they are looking at for these upgrades but ESSM Block 2 wouldn't require the illuminators and would have some OTH Anti-surface capability.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2014, 07:26:33 pm »
Can't the RAM launcher be reloaded at sea?

Sure, by hand.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #46 on: December 12, 2014, 08:09:06 pm »
Can't the RAM launcher be reloaded at sea?

Sure, by hand.


Are you suggesting that that capability isn't useful?


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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2014, 02:46:33 am »
As stated in earier threads any ship which wastes vertical aunch space on Helifire missiles is too light to fight and too dumb to run.  Dangerous in a new cold war environment.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2014, 05:31:38 am »
Can't the RAM launcher be reloaded at sea?

Sure, by hand.


Are you suggesting that that capability isn't useful?

Is that a serious question?[/quote]
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2014, 10:33:03 am »
Well.. not really by "hand", you need a hoist :)












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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2014, 06:02:05 pm »
Can't the RAM launcher be reloaded at sea?

Sure, by hand.


Are you suggesting that that capability isn't useful?

Is that a serious question?

Jeez, Snarkyferrin 'twas just a wee query.

The major point is that the RAM launcher can fire a variety of weapons and can be reloaded at sea. The VLS can do the former but can't do the latter.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2014, 06:13:03 pm »
The RAM launcher can fire the RAM missile.  The SeaRAM launcher only carries 11 missiles (less if they decide to upgrade to the Block II).  That it can be reloaded is pretty much a moot point given how time consuming it is.  As for the launcher being able to fire other missiles I've not seen any evidence of it either being tested or deployed that way.  Furthermore, if you put other types in the launcher it only reduces the already low number of RAM missiles available for defense.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2014, 07:17:07 pm »
The RAM launcher can fire the RAM missile.  The SeaRAM launcher only carries 11 missiles (less if they decide to upgrade to the Block II).  That it can be reloaded is pretty much a moot point given how time consuming it is.  As for the launcher being able to fire other missiles I've not seen any evidence of it either being tested or deployed that way.  Furthermore, if you put other types in the launcher it only reduces the already low number of RAM missiles available for defense.


http://investor.raytheon.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=84193&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1684336

It's fired Griffin. And the time taken to reload is dramatically less than the time required to disengage, steam back to port, reload the VLS and then steam back.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2014, 07:19:43 pm »
The RAM launcher can fire the RAM missile.  The SeaRAM launcher only carries 11 missiles (less if they decide to upgrade to the Block II).  That it can be reloaded is pretty much a moot point given how time consuming it is.  As for the launcher being able to fire other missiles I've not seen any evidence of it either being tested or deployed that way.  Furthermore, if you put other types in the launcher it only reduces the already low number of RAM missiles available for defense.


http://investor.raytheon.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=84193&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1684336

It's fired Griffin. And the time taken to reload is dramatically less than the time required to disengage, steam back to port, reload the VLS and then steam back.

Which will be  a great comfort to those guys valiantly trying to reload that launcher while the antiship missiles are coming in.  BTW Griffin weighs about 1/6th the weight of RAM so it's reload time is irrelevant.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2014, 08:54:59 pm »
BTW Griffin weighs about 1/6th the weight of RAM so it's reload time is irrelevant.

Sure, that version of Griffin. There are others. The main point is that RAM can fire other missiles contrary to your claim.

Which will be  a great comfort to those guys valiantly trying to reload that launcher while the antiship missiles are coming in


As opposed to valiantly not being able to reload the VLS? Yeah...trying to break contact to steam back to port in order to reload while under fire sounds far more comforting.

I'm not saying that LCS doesn't need a VLS but it's highly desirable to have complementary capabilities.




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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2014, 09:30:52 pm »
This ship doesn't just need weapons, it needs range to exploit its excellent speed's usefulness.  There's no point in having the speed when you have to go as slow as the oiler that would accompany you to refuel you half way across the atlantic.  But of course, that means building a larger ship that is actually a frigate.  This is the painful truth of having to modify a ship that was built around a drastically different vision.  I say, dump the freedom class, which is a little cheaper but a tons less capable, and invest that money into modifying the more capable independence class that not only will have decent weapons but range required to be tactically relevant. 


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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #56 on: December 14, 2014, 10:06:05 am »
BTW Griffin weighs about 1/6th the weight of RAM so it's reload time is irrelevant.

Sure, that version of Griffin. There are others. The main point is that RAM can fire other missiles contrary to your claim.

Go back and read what I said.  And which "others"?

Which will be  a great comfort to those guys valiantly trying to reload that launcher while the antiship missiles are coming in


As opposed to valiantly not being able to reload the VLS? Yeah...trying to break contact to steam back to port in order to reload while under fire sounds far more comforting.

I guarantee you, having 32 missiles sitting in a VLS would be far more comforting than having 11 (or far less if you had your way) missiles available and being expected to run out on deck to reload while being shot at.  LOL
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Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #57 on: December 14, 2014, 03:27:59 pm »
Sferrin, I can understand your desire for bigger teeth, but you're skipping a lot of practical considerations. 32  ESSMs in an 8-cell SD VLS is going to run up around 25 metric tons, before radar and combat system upgrades. SeaRAM with 11 missiles is less than 7 metric tons and needs no further additions to the LCS. In a pair of hulls which already have weight problems, another 18+ tons is a dramatic increase. Add in the volume requirements, and either something has to come off or the hulls must be more extensively modified at additional cost.


And on the subject of cost, where has the Hill indicated they would be willing to pay for a significant increase in LCS/SSC cost? This fairly mild upgrade is projected to add about $50 million to each hull, on a ship which Congress already complains is too expensive, within a shipbuilding budget which is already under-funded. Change that $50 million increase to $150 or $200 million and the "more capable" SSC will get cancelled long before it sees the light of day.

Offline DrRansom

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #58 on: December 14, 2014, 06:10:03 pm »
To add to Moose's point, it was reported  (Breaking Defense, I believe) that the upgrades will actually reduce the ship's weight. That goal would be extremely difficult with an 8 cell VLS. The advantage of cruise missiles is the minimal connection needed to the ship's central systems and no need to upgrade anything other than fire control box and a box launcher.

What I am interested in seeing is the signature reduction, or at least the Navy's plans for that. There was a report about signature reduction on a DDG-51, this would continue that a trend towards that.

Now, I think that the lack of a VLS does lead to a serious problem: no ASROC. If the LCS detects a submarine contact, it must use some helicopter to persecute the target. In bad weather, that may not be possible. If there was a VLS, I think it'd likely be: 4 x ASROC, 16 ESSM.

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2014, 09:17:54 am »
It could be really, really good but if you only have 8 of them on hand (if that) that's a problem.  I'd like to know why they couldn't put an 8-cell, SD length Mk41 with 32 ESSMs on board.  Seems like that would be a no-brainer.

The issue probably isn't the VLS istelf but fire control and the associated combat direction system.  Adding 3-D radar is a start, but adding illuminators and the necessary processing and control consoles in the CIC would mean a bunch more complexity (cost) and manning (also cost).  I'm sure that's what drove the omission.  It just strikes me as incredibly "penny wise, pound foolish."
I'm sorry if this is (slightly) off topic, but since SCS and FCR have been mentioned, does anybody know what happened to the SPY-5 radar offered by Raytheon back in 2009-2010 ?



We've not heard anything about this radar since then and it's now disappeared from Raytheon's website.

Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
 
 

Offline covert_shores

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2014, 03:29:18 pm »
I thought ASROC was out of service?
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Online sferrin

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Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2014, 09:00:21 pm »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

Online marauder2048

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #63 on: December 22, 2014, 02:08:57 am »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

I wonder if it fell down on ITAR concerns since I believe it was intended as a retrofit to the exported Perry class frigates..

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #64 on: December 22, 2014, 04:08:05 am »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

Hi Moose,
 
AIUI, SPY-5 didn't share the same technology as SPY-3 (PESA for the former vs GaAs AESA for the latter), was more than a mere concept (a dual-face EDM model was installed at Raytheon's test site, with full system qualification expected by the end of 2010) and wasn't targeted at the same market as AMDR / SPY-3 (SPY-5 was meant for SSCs, large gators & CVs).
 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 08:55:41 am by Matt R. »

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #65 on: December 22, 2014, 04:18:48 am »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

I wonder if it fell down on ITAR concerns since I believe it was intended as a retrofit to the exported Perry class frigates..

Hi Maurader,
 
It is my understanding that SPY-5 was not only intended as a retrofit for the Perry class frigates, but also as a possible replacement for the Mark-95 CWI used on US gators & CVNs, with which it shared common components like the Mark-73 Mod.3 Solid-State Transmitter (SSTX) and the Mark-30 Mod.0 Integrated Radar Processor (IRP).
 
 

Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #66 on: December 22, 2014, 11:37:28 am »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

Hi Moose,
 
AIUI, SPY-5 didn't share the same technology as SPY-3 (PESA for the former vs GaN AESA for the latter), was more than a mere concept (a dual-face EDM model was installed at Raytheon's test site, with full system qualification expected by the end of 2010) and wasn't targeted at the same market as AMDR / SPY-3 (SPY-5 was meant for SSCs, large gators & CVs).
You probably know more, I wasn't aware SPY-5 was being sold as a GaN radar.

Offline Matt R.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2014, 08:57:17 am »
Technical failure or just another product that didn't find its market ?
I think it was just a concept to build off their SPY-3 work on the low end. Since then they appear to have realigned their naval radar work to focus on AMDR and derivatives of it for the time being.

Hi Moose,
 
AIUI, SPY-5 didn't share the same technology as SPY-3 (PESA for the former vs GaN AESA for the latter), was more than a mere concept (a dual-face EDM model was installed at Raytheon's test site, with full system qualification expected by the end of 2010) and wasn't targeted at the same market as AMDR / SPY-3 (SPY-5 was meant for SSCs, large gators & CVs).
You probably know more, I wasn't aware SPY-5 was being sold as a GaN radar.
My bad.
 
SPY-3 is GaAs AESA.
 
SPY-5 is PESA.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #68 on: February 16, 2015, 07:52:02 pm »
"NavWeek: Frigate About It"
Feb 13, 2015 by Michael Fabey in Ares

Source:
http://aviationweek.com/blog/navweek-frigate-about-it

Quote

The die is cast and the U.S. Navy has made its big bet – the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)-Next is going to be an uparmed and uparmored version of the current vessels that the service has redesignated as an FF, or fast frigate.

"These are not ‘L' class ships," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said last month during his keynote address at the Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium. "When I hear ‘L,’ I think amphib. I spend a good bit of my time explaining what ‘littoral’ is." It is a good time, he says, to re-establish Navy tradition for naming ships properly. "It’s a frigate. We’re going to call it one."

Of course calling it one won’t make it one. Many doubt the idea that that the modified LCS will live up to the true definition of a frigate. But perhaps it's about time to give the Navy a chance to prove out its case. The service brass says it has the ships it wants and everyone can argue over the next few years whether the decision is a good one, but the truth is that only time will tell whether the gamble will be worth it. Indeed, with the new Navy focus on “distributive lethality,” where every ship will be armed up as much as possible, it’s difficult and perhaps impossible now to foresee how the new FFs will fare in the future force structure.

Having said that, it’s also time to clear up a few things about LCS performance thus far that factored into the Navy’s LCS-FF decision.

The Pentagon's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) says in its recently released annual report: “While offering some improvements in combat capability and survivability (primarily via reduced susceptibility) relative to LCS, the minor modifications to LCS considered by the Task Force and recommended by the Navy Leadership do not satisfy significant elements of a capability concept developed by the Task Force for a modern frigate.”

Navy officials say DOT&E's evaluation was factored into the task force decision process. Such statements imply DOT&E supports the plan – it obviously does not. Navy officials, though, have always questioned LCS detractors, even official government ones, throughout the years. In a common refrain, Mabus told symposium attendees, “I’ve read the stories, like you have, about the problems in the LCS program, but they are all written with data that is a couple of years old.  Those claims are based on bad data.  Now that we are in serial construction on both classes of these ships the costs keep coming down and they are launching on schedule.  When we inherited this program it did have a lot of problems. But in the past five years we have turned it around and these classes have become an acquisition success story and they are now coming in well under the Congressional cost cap.”

In many cases the stories Mabus refers to were based on the reports by the DOT&E, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and other government sources.

There is no doubt that they are well-researched and well-intentioned. But Mabus still has a point, because it is impossible to do these kinds of reports in real time. The studies are snapshots of data and performance at a certain period of time that are analyzed, synthesized and verbalized. Still, these are smart folks doing these reports, and they are still providing valuable and pertinent insight.

Some points of those troubling reports are still valid. “Key unknowns remain regarding how the Navy will eventually be able to use the LCS and how well the ship meets its performance requirements,” GAO says in a report about LCS released this past summer.

GAO based its report on data, interviews and observations about the performance of LCS 1 USS Freedom – the steel monohull variant of the vessel build by Lockheed Martin – in the West Pacific for the 7th Fleet.

“While 7th Fleet officials noted that a benefit of having LCS in theater was that the ship could participate in international exercises, freeing up other surface combatants for other missions, they were still not certain about the ship’s potential capabilities and attributes, or how they would best utilize an LCS in their theater,” GAO says.

It should be noted that LCS 3 Fort Worth is now in the same theater, performing all types of missions and operations, planned and opportunistic, for the 7th Fleet and apparently doing them well. The ship is an improved Freedom-class vessel and the reviews have been much more positive.

However, GAO makes some points that are worth considering. “Fleet users expressed interest in several modifications that they would like to see made to the seaframes and/or mission packages to better suit their needs, based on their experience with the deployment.”

They want a replacement system for an unreliable and poorly performing electronic warfare system called WBR-2000 currently installed on the Freedom variant.

They also want use the MH-60 helicopter to carry sonar buoys on the ship for helicopter use even if the anti-submarine warfare package is not onboard.

They want an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)-specific mission package.

According to the 7th Fleet users, GAO notes, “These changes would make LCS more reflective of their theater-specific needs.”

It appears that the FF modifications, planned to be backfitted on LCS vessels, should address some of these concerns. But GAO also worries as much about how the ships are operated as how they are equipped.

The Navy failed to demonstrate certain LCS concepts on the deployment and cannot extrapolate some of the lessons learned across the whole LCS class, GAO says.

In another report on the Freedom deployment, GAO says, “For over 10 years, the Navy has been refining the concept of operations for its newest class of surface warship.”

Part of the problem may be getting the ships out to sea enough to get the necessary data and feel for the ship. There simply has not been enough water under the keel.

“Since the ships have been delivered, USS Freedom has spent 29% of its time under way, while [LCS 2, the Austal USA-built] USS Independence has spent 26% of its time under way,” GAO says.

A ship’s operational concepts define the character of the ship. “Questions remaining regarding LCS’s underlying concepts will, in turn, have implications for the practicality of certain requirements and key differences between the two variants—issues that have the potential to affect future acquisition decisions,” GAO says.

One of the core concepts for LCS has been its low manning – with “low” taking on a relative meaning as time goes by. The core crew of 40 is now already up to 50, and GAO says that still may not be enough.

“Based on our conversations with the crew on the second half of the deployment, they were strained to keep up with some duties even with the additional people,” GAO says.

Sleep is an issue. The officials Navy standard is eight hours of sleep per day – though many ship crews, at some time or another don’t meet that number. The average on LCS is below that, crews told GAO.

The Center for Naval Analyses found that Freedom crews averaged six hours of sleep per day, GAO says, adding, “Some key departments, such as engineering and operations, averaged even fewer.”

Navy officials told GAO sailors do not realistically expect 8 hours of sleep while they are under way and may choose to have more down time rather than sleep.

One of the biggest human-power drains on any ship is maintenance, and LCS is no different. But it’s a bigger headache because of the smaller crew base. “The crew also reported heavy reliance on the mission package crew to conduct seaframe maintenance—which is not their role,” GAO says.

When the mission package crew had to perform its own missions, the LCS sailors had to work even harder to maintain the ship, causing them to become even more fatigued.

Some of the problems have to do with the way maintenance has to be done on the ships. “Members of the combat systems department crew reported that approximately 90% of combat systems spaces are sensitive and therefore require the presence of LCS crew members in the workspace while contractors complete maintenance on department systems,” GAO reports. “Crew members must essentially ‘shadow’ contractors as they perform such basic tasks as changing batteries and cleaning filters.”

The number of shore personnel to support the ship has more than tripled—from 271 to 862—as support requirements have become better understood, according to GAO.

The ship hulls still pose significant acquisition risks for the program, GAO says. “Key among these is managing the weight of the ships. Initial LCS seaframes face limitations resulting from weight growth during construction of the first several ships. This weight growth has required the Navy to make compromises on performance of LCS 1 and LCS 2 and may complicate existing plans to make additional changes to each seaframe design.”

All ships grow heavier over time and the Navy accounts for this with an expected weight allowance. But, GAO says, LCS has significantly lower available margin compared to other ship classes.

One of the reasons for the weight concern has been the over-arching requirement for extremely high warship speed – as close to 50 kt. as possible. Navy officials now say they are willing to sacrifice some of that speed on the FFs and backfitted LCS vessels, although how much is an open question, especially with engineers still searching for ways to shave tonnage as some of the mission module package equipment meant to be switched out will now become permanently anchored aboard.

How will all of this affect cost? Well, it was hard enough before just to pin down overall LCS costs.

“The Navy estimated in 2011 that operations and support costs for the LCS seaframes would be about $50 billion over the life of the ship class,” GAO says. “In 2013, it estimated that operations and support costs for the mission modules would be about $18 billion. Both of these estimates were calculated in fiscal year 2010 dollars. However … the seaframe estimate is at the 10% confidence level, meaning that there is 90% chance that costs will be higher than this estimate.”

The Navy didn’t have actual LCS data yet to make its estimates, GAO notes, so the service used operations and support data from other surface ships, such as frigates, and modified them to approximate LCS characteristics.

“The maintenance concepts for these ships differ from those for the LCS,” GAO points out.

From the outset of the program, the Navy has described the LCS as a low-cost alternative to other ships in the surface fleet, GAO notes. “Yet the available data indicate that the per-year, per ship life-cycle costs are nearing or may exceed those of other surface ships, including multimission ships with greater size and larger crews.”

LCS per-year-cost estimates “are nearing or may exceed the costs of other surface ships … such as guided-missile frigates and destroyers,” GAO says.

The Pentagon told GAO it is “concerned with the conclusions drawn from the analysis of life-cycle cost data across ship classes,” saying “due to known gaps in existing ship class cost data, the available data do not allow for an accurate comparison of the life cycle costs among LCS and other existing surface ship classes.”

In interviews with Ares, Navy officials say some research and development (R&D) for other ships was done in-house by the Navy and would not show up in the total cost figures as they do for LCS, where it was done by the contractors.

“In its comments, DOD noted differences in the scope of cost data across the ship classes and differences in life-cycle phases among the ship classes included in our life-cycle cost analysis,” GAO says.

The Pentagon told GAO, “There are gaps in the Navy’s record keeping for operations and support costs, so that some potential costs may not be captured in the estimates the Navy provided, such as system modernization, software maintenance, and program startup, which could understate the costs of the other surface ships.”

GAO says it used the “the most comprehensive operations and support cost data” the Navy could provide.

“The Navy also has used these data from other surface ship classes to build its LCS life-cycle cost estimates,” GAO says.

Navy officials can raise questions about the timeliness of the data used in GAO reports. And the service brass can also question the operational savvy of government auditors when reviewing ship programs. But the GAO issued warnings about potential programmatic upheavals after the Navy started in on the LCS block buys should it be determined that the service had to make any mid-stream changes – and those accountants have started to look prophetic.

Still, the Navy deserves a chance to see how its current plan plays out, especially given the performance during recent LCS operations.

After the Freedom’s rocky first Western Pacific deployment, the LCS program made a comeback first with the Independence in the Rim of Pacific (Rimpac) exercise last summer off the coast of Hawaii, and then with the current string of Fort Worth successes in the Pacific.

The Independence arrived in Rimpac with about a third of a tank of gas to spare, without incident. The ship performed a variety of usual surface warship missions as well as some special ones, including acting as launching vessel for about four dozen Seals, Marines and other special operators from an assortment of different countries using rigid-hull boats and an MH-60R helicopter to conduct a security operation.

The operators used the surface warfare package equipment already on board the ship as well as their own communication gear, says Cmdr. Joseph Gagliano, Independence commanding officer for Rimpac operations. During the exercises, he says, the ship was able to launch aircraft at a rapid pace, thanks to its aviation-friendly design. The ship’s crew, he says, have been able to find ways of using the ship’s speed, stealth and other assets to provide tactical advantages.

Such a ship, armed with the right kind of missiles or other weaponry in years to come, could give the enemy pause – at least that’s the Navy's thinking now. They could send out LCS vessels or FFs with destroyers and cruisers and make adversaries wonder where the next attack could come from.

Add into the mix small armed boats or unmanned surface vessels – like Juliet Marine Systems’ prototype small-attack craft based on the Swath concept that looks something like a sea-skimming F-117, called Ghost – and then it could really get interesting.

High-stakes betting usually is.

 
One can upgrade all the weapons on the platform they want. The compartmentalization and water tight integrity is not affected. THAT is what survivability is all about.

All this talk about "L" class vessels and less expensive surface combatants is a practical demonstration of "Living on a River in Egypt."

Still trying to figure out how one can Escort a convoy with an AAW weapon with a 25lb blast fragmentation warhead on a missile with a max range of under 6 miles. HHUMMMM

Despite the name change (the Navy did something similar in 1975 reclassifying Destroyer Escorts (DE) as Frigates (FF)) and the added weapons and other improvements, the Freedom/Independence class are still woefully under armed for a frigate.

These ships still lack an organic medium range SAM, an ASW weapon and torpedoes that are found on similar size ships. Adding a 16-cell VLS module would provide the capability to carry 32 ESSM and 8 VLS ASROC. But, adding ESSM would require additional electronics that probably cannot not be mounted on the ship in its current configuration. Until a ASM is identified, I can't understand why the Navy cannot equip these ships with Harpoon missiles as an interim solution.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 07:53:41 pm by Triton »

Offline bobbymike

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Offline Creative

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2015, 07:03:17 am »
Model of Huntington Ingalls' proposal for the Small Surface Combatant seen at Navy League Conference.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/photo-gallery-navy-league-conference-floor#slide-20-field_images-1290191

Offline Bgray

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #71 on: September 01, 2015, 01:00:12 am »
So, it's a bit late, but I read that about 18 companies proposed ships for this-- any information on their concepts?

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #72 on: September 01, 2015, 10:29:07 am »
So, it's a bit late, but I read that about 18 companies proposed ships for this-- any information on their concepts?

I haven't seen anything beyond what we have already documented.

Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2015, 01:38:10 pm »
Most of the US shipyards haven't embraced online media all that well, so you usually only see the "for public consumption" version of their concepts in the form of models/posters at trade shows. Otherwise, we're unlikely to see much of their submissions unless the Navy puts some of them out there for us to see.

Offline bobbymike

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Offline bobbymike

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Offline bobbymike

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Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #77 on: September 10, 2016, 09:56:18 am »
For everyone who thought the LCS were an interesting but unworkable, underarmed, undermanned concept, the USN has FINALLY figured it out.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/176873/us-navy-drops-lcs-plans,-concept-after-latest-failures.html

Now we have to wait and see if the Navy's fix of single use ships based on the two LCS models now being built or it will follow the GAO and start over maybe being based on a foreign design.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #78 on: September 10, 2016, 11:49:07 am »
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/176873/us-navy-drops-lcs-plans,-concept-after-latest-failures.html

de Briganti really seems to be impervious to knowledge or understanding of procurement particularly unit costs for ships which in government reports and budgetary documents excludes "government furnished equipment" which can, in the case of DDG-51, nearly double the unit cost. It's not even remotely close for LCS.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #79 on: September 10, 2016, 01:15:11 pm »
If they do narrow it down to one design I hope it's the one with the big flight deck.
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Offline gtg947h

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #80 on: September 13, 2016, 04:52:01 am »
Translation:  The swappable/reconfigurable mission module concept didn't work, so future ships will be built for dedicated missions.

The article's author somehow turned that into "the Navy admitted everything about the ships is a total failure". 

Random LCS question:

Does anyone know the median age and naval architecture experience level of the design teams?


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Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #82 on: April 05, 2017, 08:51:23 am »
"SAS 2017: Austal Unveils Updated LCS Frigate Design with 16x Anti-Ship Missiles"
Published: Wednesday, 05 April 2017 03:45

Source:
http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/sea-air-space-2017-show-daily-news/5068-sas-2017-austal-unveils-updated-lcs-frigate-design-with-16x-anti-ship-missiles.html

Quote
At the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2017 exposition currently held near Washington D.C., Austal USA rolled out an updated LCS Frigate design called the "Austal Frigate". The main modifications consist in a slightly shortened flight deck in order to fit anti-ship missile launchers and a variable depth sonar in order to add capabilities to the ship's aft.

According to Austal USA, the Austal Frigate possesses increased lethality and high-speed shallow draft multi-mission combatant capabilities on a seaframe nearly identical to the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship. This ship's ability to meet and exceed current US Navy requirements makes it one of the most cost-effective, maneuverable and flexible ships in the fleet.

Thanks to the extra space at the stern, there are now 8x over the horizon (OTH) anti-ship missiles in additition to the 8x launchers fitted forward, for a total of 16x anti-ship missiles. An Austal representative explained to Navy Recognition that the increased number of missiles exceeds the minimum requirement expressed by the US Navy, but is in line with the distributed lethality concept and doesn't need additional development.

The new stern space is also fitted with a variable depth sonar and its handling system as well as a towed array.

Austal Frigate specifications:
Length: 419 ft
Beam: 104 ft
Draft: 15 ft
Full load displacement: Approx. 3,500 Tons
Speed: More than 32 knots
Range: More than 4,300 nm @ 12 kts
Berthing: 130
Mission bay size: 7,000 square ft
Watercraft operations: 2x 7 meters RHIBS. Launch and recovery up to sea state 3
Flight operations: 1x H-60, up to sea state 5
Hangar:1x H-60 and 1x MQ-8C
Sensors: 3D search radar, 2x navigation radars, EO/IR fire control optics, variable depth sonar, multi-function towed array, electronic surveillance
Processing systems: COMBATSS 21 CMS, AN/SQQ-89 undersea warfare system, integrated bridge control system, automated machinery and damage control systems
Armament: SeaRAM, Mk110 57mm gun, 6x .50 cal guns, NULKA, 16x OTH missiles, 2x 25/30mm cannons, Helllfire AGM-114 missiles, torpedo countermeasures, 2x Mk41 launchers
Propulsion: 2x GE LM2500 gas turbines, 2x MTU 20V8000 diesel engines, 4x Wartsila steerabe, reversing waterjets.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #83 on: April 05, 2017, 08:55:20 am »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #84 on: April 05, 2017, 09:46:55 am »
Those foredeck .50 caliber mounts seem like a terrible place to be standing when stuff starts happening. 


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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #85 on: April 05, 2017, 10:01:49 am »
Those foredeck .50 caliber mounts seem like a terrible place to be standing when stuff starts happening.

I see enough cells for 64 ESSMs but no radar to find them targets or guide them.  ???
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #86 on: April 05, 2017, 12:24:15 pm »
Those foredeck .50 caliber mounts seem like a terrible place to be standing when stuff starts happening.

I see enough cells for 64 ESSMs but no radar to find them targets or guide them.  ???

The CEROS 200 over the bridge presumably has a CW channel.  And I think that cone under the tripod mast is Sea Giraffe for target indication.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #87 on: April 05, 2017, 12:26:36 pm »
"Uncharted waters: US Navy still searching for path to a bigger fleet"
by Christopher P. Cavas, April 3, 2017

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/uncharted-waters-us-navy-still-searching-for-path-to-a-bigger-fleet

Quote
... By far the greatest shipbuilding controversy has centered on the small surface combatant, where OSD and the Navy – particularly Mabus – butted heads for several years on the program’s future. Prior defense secretaries Chuck Hagel and Carter sought in succession to end LCS procurement, move to frigate variants of each of the two designs in production, or move to a single frigate variant. Starting in January 2014, when Hagel first ordered the frigate to be developed, the LCS and frigate programs have gone through virtually annual changes to accommodate new directives.

Officially, the Navy plans to end LCS procurement and choose a single frigate design in 2019 – and there is pressure from OSD, the Navy and Congress to move that forward to 2018. Both industry teams, Lockheed Martin and Austal USA, long have been working to anticipate the Navy’s frigate design requirements — even as those requirements have fluctuated — and the service has been funding research and development work. But a formal request for proposal (RFP) for the frigate is scheduled for September, and the responses are unlikely to be delivered much before the end of calendar year 2018.

But the cumulative effect of the nearly constant changes in direction have set the program back more than is publicly acknowledged, a number of sources said. For example, if both frigate designs are going to be built, a high degree of commonality needs to exist between the two. If only one design is chosen, commonality is not as important, simplifying each team’s task. The current direction is for a down-select to a single design.

The simple truth is a down-select is highly unlikely. The primary drivers for continuing to build both variants are 1) political pressure in Congress, where there will certainly be strong opposition from whichever builder is left out of a single-source frigate program, and 2) any move to eliminate one of the shipyards would cut in half frigate shipbuilding production, imposing a significant setback in the larger move to grow the fleet — a retrograde move unlikely to find favor on the Hill or in the White House.

The frigate program itself is in some jeopardy. There is virtually no chance the ship could happen in 2018, and the annual change in executive management’s requirements have made 2019 problematic. More likely, 2020 is a more realistic goal — or even later, giving the new Pentagon leadership more time to evaluate the situation and decide if the project is what is wanted.

 The Navy can’t even define — really — what it wants in a new small surface combatant. While it has responded to the need to justify OSD’s directives, there has been no gap analysis performed for a new frigate — a comprehensive look at what capability gap exists, followed by an analysis of alternatives on how to fill that gap. There is no shortage of opinion regarding smaller combatants to be built, but reality is that, aside from the LCS-derived frigate, any other design, including adapting an existing foreign ship, would take many years to develop and cost far more.

The irony is that the Navy’s best choice to expand its fleet sooner rather than later is to continue building the ships so many opponents want to dump — rightly or wrongly.

The issue will become how soon the establishment faces up to that reality and puts solid, consistent effort into making the ships as effective as possible.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #88 on: April 05, 2017, 12:34:13 pm »
Those foredeck .50 caliber mounts seem like a terrible place to be standing when stuff starts happening.

I see enough cells for 64 ESSMs but no radar to find them targets or guide them.  ???

The CEROS 200 over the bridge presumably has a CW channel.  And I think that cone under the tripod mast is Sea Giraffe for target indication.

Hopefully a whole lot more than one channel.  :o
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Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #89 on: April 05, 2017, 12:38:24 pm »
Politics aside, is a frigate design based on the Legend-class cutter, such as the Huntington Ingalls FF4923 proposal, better than turning the Independence-class and Freedom-class LCS into frigates?

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #90 on: April 05, 2017, 12:47:02 pm »
The CEROS 200 over the bridge presumably has a CW channel.  And I think that cone under the tripod mast is Sea Giraffe for target indication.

Hopefully a whole lot more than one channel.  :o

Any way you slice it, this is a minimal capability.  Unless they shell out for something like CEAFAR/CEAMOUNT, it's going to be very crude by modern standards. 

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2017, 01:00:13 pm »
The CEROS 200 over the bridge presumably has a CW channel.  And I think that cone under the tripod mast is Sea Giraffe for target indication.

Hopefully a whole lot more than one channel.  :o

Any way you slice it, this is a minimal capability.  Unless they shell out for something like CEAFAR/CEAMOUNT, it's going to be very crude by modern standards.

Yeesh.  For the kind of coin these things will cost you'd think you'd want to be able to have at least four rounds in the air at once.  Even TOR can do that.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #92 on: April 05, 2017, 01:21:33 pm »
"McCain Pledges Hearings on Navy Frigate Program, Wants to Consider More Designs"
By: Sam LaGrone and Megan Eckstein
February 28, 2017 6:00 PM • Updated: February 28, 2017 7:29 PM

Source:
https://news.usni.org/2017/02/28/mccain-pledges-hold-hearings-navy-frigate-program-wants-expand-designs-consideration

Quote
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to hold hearings on the Navy’s frigate program amidst calls to open the competition to more domestic and foreign designs.

McCain – a constant critic of the Littoral Combat Ship, which serves as the basis for the Navy’s frigate plans – told reporters on Tuesday that hearings before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee would seek to reexamine the entire frigate program.

“The frigate acquisition strategy should be revised to increase requirements to include convoy air defense, greater missile capability and longer endurance,” he said at an event outlining the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ recent U.S. Navy fleet architecture study, reported Inside the Navy.
“When you look at some of the renewed capabilities, naval capabilities, that both the Russians and the Chinese have, it requires more capable weapon systems.”

A committee staffer confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday the LCS program and the Navy’s plan for a frigate would be major topics of the seapower subcommittee’s hearings in the spring.

Current Plans

At the moment the Navy is set to downselect to an up-gunned version of either the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class or the Austal USA Independence-class and is set to keep a brisk schedule to keep work progressing the yard set to build the frigate.

The LCS program office said earlier this year, and others confirmed recently, that the Navy should release a draft request for proposals for the frigate in March or April, with the full RFP coming out at the end of this year or early next year. That would put the service on track to decide on a single builder – or to change course and award contracts to both, if the new administration decides to support the frigate program and increase its funding as part of the fleet buildup – in late Fiscal Year 2018 or early 2019. When then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter curtailed the frigate program in a December 2015 memo, he mandated that a downselect take place by FY 2019.

However, in a pair of December hearings at the House and Senate armed services committees, Government Accountability Office employees warned lawmakers to slow down the frigate acquisition timeline.

In the Dec. 1 Senate hearing, GAO Managing Director of Acquisition And Sourcing Management Paul Francis told lawmakers that, if they allowed the Navy to move from LCS into a 12-frigate block-buy contract, they would abdicate any oversight opportunities they might want to have.
“[The frigate program] is not going to have milestone decisions. It’s not going to be a separate program. There won’t be a Milestone B. You’re not going to have Nunn-McCurdy protections for the frigate itself. You won’t have a selected acquisition report for the frigate itself. And some of the key performance parameters, as they relate to the mission modules, have been downgraded to key system attributes, which means the Navy and not the [Joint Requirements Oversight Council] will make decisions on what is acceptable,” he warned the lawmakers.

“So let me wrap up by saying, the ball’s not in your court. In a few months you’ll be asked to approve the FY18 budget submit, which will, if current plans hold, include approval for a block buy of 12 frigates. In my mind, you’re going to be rushed again, you’re going to be asked for upfront approval for something where the design isn’t done, we don’t have independent cost estimates, the risks are not well understood.”

After Francis’ comments, McCain retorted “this idea of a block buy before it’s a mature system is absolutely insane.”
A week later, GAO Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management Michele Mackin told lawmakers that frigate cost was unknown and risk too high, and that the Navy did not need to rush into the program because both LCS builders had a backlog of work – a statement the Navy strongly pushed back against.

“Our work has shown that both LCS shipyards are running quite a bit behind in delivering ships already under contract. Backlogs are many months long and up to a year or more in some cases. So the bottom line here is that both shipyards will be building LCSs for years to come, at least into 2021 at this point. So there’s no schedule imperative to add frigates to the pipeline right now,” she said.

“There’s an opportunity here to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Continued concerns about the capability of LCS, testing that’s years away from being complete, unknowns about the frigate and production backlogs at the shipyards are all factors that need to be taken into account. This potentially $9-billion investment can wait until more is known about what the taxpayers are being asked to fund.”

After that hearing, Sean Stackley – who served as the Navy’s acquisition chief and is now acting secretary – told USNI News that the Navy had a tight timeline to stay on if it wanted either LCS builder, Lockheed Martin or Austal USA, to remain a viable option to build the frigate.
“If the shipyard doesn’t have a backlog, it’s out of business,” Stackley told USNI News right after the hearing, adding that the GAO report’s language about shipyard backlogs shows “a misunderstanding of serial production.”

“Her comment in terms of the timeframe is that when you award the last ships in 2017 … you still have work to take you to the 2020, 2021 timeframe. Well that’s true, because you’re going to order material and then you’re going to build the ship,” he said.
“What that means is, the day you award that last ship, you’re going to start laying people off, and you’re going to lay them off until they’re gone. You’re going to lay them off in the sequence in which you build the ship. So [later on] when you are going to build another ship, if you are going to stop production and [later] build another ship, you’ve lost your skilled labor and you’ve got to rebuild it. Where that has occurred [in previous shipbuilding programs] we have experienced extreme cost delays and quality issues. So that is something that we as a Navy, we as a nation do not choose to do. We do not want to lay off skilled labor and then try to rehire them a couple years later to restart production.”

He then confirmed that the frigate contract needs to be awarded heel-to-toe with the last LCS contract to maintain serial production, “unless you want to put the shipyard out of business.”

Other Options

Calls to create a more lethal multi-mission frigate with a more robust air defense capability have been around since the genesis of the LCS program.

The CSBA study called for starting a new frigate program to spread more air defense assets throughout the fleet.

“We costed out the version we had was going to be about a billion a frigate, so it’s still expensive, but you can buy two frigates for the cost of one [guided-missile destroyer] and distribute your fires,” CSBA study lead author Bryan Clark told USNI News earlier this month.

Existing designs that could meet that criteria are already in service with the Norwegian Navy and the Spanish Armada and are set to enter into service with the Royal Australian Navy soon.

The Spanish and Australians field ships based around the Spanish F-100 design – a 4,555 ton ship that operates the U.S. Aegis combat system, pairing an AN/SPY-1D air search radar with 48 Mk 41 Vertical Launching System cells armed with Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA/B air defense missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM).

Huntington Ingalls Industries has also pitched a naval version of its Legend-class National Security Cutter for the role of a “Patrol Frigate.” The company has said it could include Mk-41 VLS and an air search radar in its design.

On the larger end, the joint French and Italian 6,500-ton FREMM frigate could also fit into the CSBA construct for a multi-mission frigate, Clark told USNI News.

Offline RP1

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #93 on: April 05, 2017, 01:51:01 pm »
IIRC ESSM is slated to get an active seeker at some point around 2020 in Block 2.
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Offline DrRansom

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2017, 02:03:42 pm »
Wouldn't a frigate need an ASROC capability before a substantial anti-ship missile capability?

I wonder if the vest play for a frigate asap is to partner with the UK.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #95 on: April 05, 2017, 02:32:29 pm »
Wouldn't a frigate need an ASROC capability before a substantial anti-ship missile capability

I wonder if the vest play for a frigate asap is to partner with the UK.

That is highly unlikely considering we're talking of the US here.
But it would be ironic if they came aboard the Global Combat Ship......

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #96 on: April 05, 2017, 02:43:09 pm »
Wouldn't a frigate need an ASROC capability before a substantial anti-ship missile capability

I wonder if the vest play for a frigate asap is to partner with the UK.

That is highly unlikely considering we're talking of the US here.
But it would be ironic if they came aboard the Global Combat Ship......

"Global Combat Ship"?  ???
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #97 on: April 05, 2017, 03:48:46 pm »
Wouldn't a frigate need an ASROC capability before a substantial anti-ship missile capability?

I wonder if the vest play for a frigate asap is to partner with the UK.

US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #98 on: April 05, 2017, 06:02:00 pm »
Wouldn't a frigate need an ASROC capability before a substantial anti-ship missile capability

I wonder if the vest play for a frigate asap is to partner with the UK.

That is highly unlikely considering we're talking of the US here.
But it would be ironic if they came aboard the Global Combat Ship......

"Global Combat Ship"?  ???
Type 26. The Brits are dragging arse on it, hoping someone signs on to help foot the bill.

Offline DrRansom

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #99 on: April 05, 2017, 07:01:34 pm »
US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

Checking Wikipedia, the Knox frigates were retired after the cold war ended, that is, after the End of History made ASW obsolete.

For ASROC, works in more weather conditions than helicopters. But, as you point out, the USN doesn't exactly have a shortage of Mk 41 VLS cells on Destroyers.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #100 on: April 05, 2017, 09:01:30 pm »
US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

Did VLA-ER make any progress or are they looking at a VLS version of HAAWC?

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #101 on: April 06, 2017, 05:07:18 am »
US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

Did VLA-ER make any progress or are they looking at a VLS version of HAAWC?

I'm not in the loop on this, but I can't find media reporting about either system since about 2010.  Lockheed was talking about HAAWC being VLS-compatible (part of the same mods that adapted it to the P-8) but it's been crickets since then.  The only folks doing serious work on new ASROC-type systems appear to be South Korea (Red Shark) and Japan (Type 07), but details from either are very sparse. 

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #102 on: April 06, 2017, 05:22:59 am »
US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

Did VLA-ER make any progress or are they looking at a VLS version of HAAWC?

I'm not in the loop on this, but I can't find media reporting about either system since about 2010.  Lockheed was talking about HAAWC being VLS-compatible (part of the same mods that adapted it to the P-8) but it's been crickets since then.  The only folks doing serious work on new ASROC-type systems appear to be South Korea (Red Shark) and Japan (Type 07), but details from either are very sparse.

Any idea why the USN seems to have no interest in a new heavyweight torpedo or a VL-ASROC/SUBROC replacement?  Presumably they'd want to extend CEC beneath the sea, in which case a modern Sea Lance would be a god send.
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #103 on: April 06, 2017, 06:12:43 am »
US frigates lived without ASROC for a long time (since the last Knox was retired).  We rely more on helos for torpedo delivery.  But VL ASROC could fit in those Mk 41 cells easily enough.

Did VLA-ER make any progress or are they looking at a VLS version of HAAWC?

I'm not in the loop on this, but I can't find media reporting about either system since about 2010.  Lockheed was talking about HAAWC being VLS-compatible (part of the same mods that adapted it to the P-8) but it's been crickets since then.  The only folks doing serious work on new ASROC-type systems appear to be South Korea (Red Shark) and Japan (Type 07), but details from either are very sparse.

Any idea why the USN seems to have no interest in a new heavyweight torpedo or a VL-ASROC/SUBROC replacement?  Presumably they'd want to extend CEC beneath the sea, in which case a modern Sea Lance would be a god send.

Underwater CEC was a thing they studied a couple decades ago, IIRC, but it's painfully hard.  Acoustic track data is never as precise as electromagnetic and there's a lot of misleading noise, so track consolidation is a nightmare.  And many of the units you want in the network (submarines and eventually UUVs) don't have real-time RF connectivity to share a track picture anyway, so you're always handicapped by that.

I'm not convinced the Navy sees a need for much longer range ASW missiles.  Past 12 miles (current VLA range), you're probably in convergence zones and target localization is bad anyway.  So you send out a helo (or UAV or even USV) and have it reacquire the target and drop on it directly. 

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #104 on: April 06, 2017, 08:51:29 am »
I think it may have been more of a case of the United States Navy practically abandoning ASW from the mid-1990s onwards, increasingly leaving any submarine hunting to the shrinking submarine force. A state of affairs that got even worse in the 2000s with both finite assets (such as much of the P-3 fleet) being diverted to directly supporting the War on Terror, and the USN concentrating on turning itself into a Green Water (littoral) navy as it's contribution to 'Transformation'.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #105 on: April 06, 2017, 03:29:22 pm »
I think it may have been more of a case of the United States Navy practically abandoning ASW from the mid-1990s onwards, increasingly leaving any submarine hunting to the shrinking submarine force. A state of affairs that got even worse in the 2000s with both finite assets (such as much of the P-3 fleet) being diverted to directly supporting the War on Terror, and the USN concentrating on turning itself into a Green Water (littoral) navy as it's contribution to 'Transformation'.

Or a basic recognition that organic, embarked helicopters with imaging LiDARs represented a much denser  and more responsive ASW asset.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #106 on: April 07, 2017, 03:24:09 am »
You mean the ALMDS? Not only has that program been highly problematic, but If I'm not mistaken it can't track (nor reliably detect for that matter) moving objects. Not to mention that a Sea Hawk using the system has to make itself very vulnerable to operate it (fixed flight pattern, no manoeuvring) nor can it carry any weapons such as torpedoes or depth charges. Oh, and it can't be used in deeper waters. You might be able to catch a sub playing possum on the seabed near a port or anchorage, if local sonar conditions prevent them from hearing the Sea Hawk on passives and they don't have some sort of sensor buoy (or worse) deployed. But that's all assuming you have a spare Sea Hawk to prosecute the actual attack.

So trying to use ALMDS against, say a SSK about to blow your ship to smithereens would definitely be a bust, and no mistake.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #107 on: April 07, 2017, 02:58:33 pm »
You mean the ALMDS? Not only has that program been highly problematic, but If I'm not mistaken it can't track (nor reliably detect for that matter) moving objects. Not to mention that a Sea Hawk using the system has to make itself very vulnerable to operate it (fixed flight pattern, no manoeuvring) nor can it carry any weapons such as torpedoes or depth charges. Oh, and it can't be used in deeper waters. You might be able to catch a sub playing possum on the seabed near a port or anchorage, if local sonar conditions prevent them from hearing the Sea Hawk on passives and they don't have some sort of sensor buoy (or worse) deployed. But that's all assuming you have a spare Sea Hawk to prosecute the actual attack.

So trying to use ALMDS against, say a SSK about to blow your ship to smithereens would definitely be a bust, and no mistake.

Gasp! A sensor that just hit IOC with its initial increment has limitations? That's unheard of. 
And ALDMS isn't the only helicopter borne imaging lidar in US service, merely the most obvious.

And it's unclear why the Sierra is vulnerable while employing lidar since it's operating under the
AAW/ASW umbrella of the Frigate or Destroyer on which it's embarked.

The criticisms about the Sierra not carrying torpedoes is spurious since the Sierra isn't the
torpedo carrier in the general case: that's the Romeo, the surface vessel, and in the CSBA's
fleet architecture report, the main role of the P-8, since like just about all of the land based
MPAs you advocate they are far too vulnerable in wartime to do anything other than lob
torpedoes at standoff ranges against contacts tracked by surface ships and their organic, airborne assets.



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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #110 on: April 10, 2017, 05:35:36 pm »
It amuses me somewhat that some of the same people who have bemoaned requirements creep for years are among those demanding ever more capabilities from the LCS/FF end of the spectrum.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #111 on: April 11, 2017, 02:26:02 am »
It amuses me somewhat that some of the same people who have bemoaned requirements creep for years are among those demanding ever more capabilities from the LCS/FF end of the spectrum.

Reading some of the comments on various websites it is often as if a single comment has two distinct authors.  For example some are seriously suggesting the way forward is to convert the Legend class high endurance cutter into an AEGIS FFG, restart FFG production because they are such powerful warships, or licence build Navantia F-100 FFGs because the LCS are so poorly armed and can't defend themselves, then when you ask about the other missions, i.e. mine warfare, the response is to keep building single role, difficult to deploy and support Avenger Class mine hunters, Cyclone class PBs etc. 

Not every ship can be a high end DDG, but then again they don't need to be, but when talking global patrol and sea control missions, expeditionary mine warfare, special forces support, inshore (as opposed to open ocean) ASW, something able to self deploy, operate with minimal support and survive against unexpected low to mid level threats is needed, otherwise the USN ends up having to use a DDG or Amphib. 

Then there's the cost argument where it doesn't matter how often you point them to the data showing the baseline Legends are $200m a piece more expensive and an F-100 is close to twice as much as an LCS they still don't get it.  Try and explain that a modern mine hunter is a very sophisticated platform that make extensive use of ROVs and is definitely not cheap, though no where near as deployable as an LCS, they just get abusive.

Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #112 on: April 11, 2017, 12:22:03 pm »
It amuses me somewhat that some of the same people who have bemoaned requirements creep for years are among those demanding ever more capabilities from the LCS/FF end of the spectrum.

Reading some of the comments on various websites it is often as if a single comment has two distinct authors.  For example some are seriously suggesting the way forward is to convert the Legend class high endurance cutter into an AEGIS FFG, restart FFG production because they are such powerful warships, or licence build Navantia F-100 FFGs because the LCS are so poorly armed and can't defend themselves, then when you ask about the other missions, i.e. mine warfare, the response is to keep building single role, difficult to deploy and support Avenger Class mine hunters, Cyclone class PBs etc. 

Not every ship can be a high end DDG, but then again they don't need to be, but when talking global patrol and sea control missions, expeditionary mine warfare, special forces support, inshore (as opposed to open ocean) ASW, something able to self deploy, operate with minimal support and survive against unexpected low to mid level threats is needed, otherwise the USN ends up having to use a DDG or Amphib. 

Then there's the cost argument where it doesn't matter how often you point them to the data showing the baseline Legends are $200m a piece more expensive and an F-100 is close to twice as much as an LCS they still don't get it.  Try and explain that a modern mine hunter is a very sophisticated platform that make extensive use of ROVs and is definitely not cheap, though no where near as deployable as an LCS, they just get abusive.
I wish we had a "like" button some days, well said.

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #113 on: April 13, 2017, 09:51:49 am »
"The U.S. Navy Wants to Build a Super Frigate"

Source:
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-navy-wants-build-super-frigate-20156

Quote
The Navy is exploring the possibility of adding Local Air Defenses, new weapons and enhanced protection technology to its requirements for a new Frigate slated to emerge in the early 2020s.

While the new Frigate was conceived of as a more survivable adaptation of the Littoral Combat Ship, new analysis is no longer restricted to the idea of loosely basing the "hull design" upon the LCS. Furthermore, new requirements analysis underway by a Navy Frigate Requirements Evaluation Team is examining the feasibility of making the ship even more lethal and survivable than what previous plans called for.

"As a result of the Navy's 2016 Force Structure Assessment, increased emphasis on Distributed Maritime Operations, and increasingly complex threats in the global maritime environment, the Navy continues to assess the capabilities required to ensure the Frigate outpaces future threats," Alan Baribeau, spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told Scout Warrior. "The Navy is pursuing an update to the analysis performed by the 2014 Small Surface Combatant Task Force to reassess Frigate requirements and capabilities."

This new analysis, which will be briefed to Congress and Pentagon leadership later this Spring, may lead to a larger, more reinforced hull able to better withstand enemy attacks. Existing plans for the Frigate have called for "space armor" configurations, a method of segmenting and strengthening ship armor in specified segments to enable the ship to continue operations in the event that one area is damaged by enemy attack.

While Navy officials did not specify details of new technologies now under consideration, they did say the new examination could lead to a different kind of hull design, as well as new offensive and defensive weapons. Stronger air defenses and enhanced survivability initiatives open the door to a wide range of offensive and defensive weaponry, such as emerging low-cost laser weapons able to incinerate incoming enemy attacks or launch offensive strikes.

News of this new Frigate analyses was first reported by Chris Cavas of Defense News.

This revised assessment of the Frigate transpires as the Navy is finalizing the weapons, sensors and technologies it plans to engineer into its new Frigate - a  more survivable and lethal Littoral Combat Ship variant designed to perform anti-submarine and surface warfare functions at the same time, service officials said.

The Navy already plans for the new Frigate be integrated with anti-submarine surface warfare technologies including sonar, an over-the-horizon missile and surface-to-surface weapons such as a 30mm gun and closer-in missiles such as the HELLFIRE.

Some of the over-the-horizon missiles now being considered by the Navy include the Naval Strike Missile by Kongsberg-Raytheon, a Harpoon or the Long-Range Anti-Ship missile (LRASM) made by Lockheed and the Pentagon's research arm, DARPA.

It is not yet known whether the Frigate will be engineered with Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) to fire larger, longer-range missiles such as a Tomahawk or Standard Missile 6, among others. However, that could be a possibility depending upon emerging Navy requirements for weapons on the ship, developers have said. It is certainly conceivable that these kinds of considerations could inform ongoing deliberations. The LCS hull is not engineered to accommodate VLS. However, should a different hull form be considered for the Frigate, the prospect of VLS or other kinds of ship-launched weapons could emerge.

Alongside ongoing efforts to specify weapons for the emerging Navy Frigate, the service is also hoping to integrate additional weaponry on the LCS itself. As a result, weapons development for both the new Navy Frigate and existing LCS are distinct, yet also interwoven initiatives.

Along these lines, Baribeau added that while the design for the Frigate matures, "the Navy remains firmly committed to execution of the current LCS program of record, in order to maintain the viability of both shipyards, maximize competition for future ship contracts, and deliver critically needed capability to the Fleet as quickly as possible."

Some of the weapons such as the Kongsberg-Raytheon Naval Strike Missile, however, may still be configured for both Frigate and LCS platforms..

Distributed Lethality

Engineering a more up-gunned, lethal and survivable Frigate than previously planned is unambiguously consistent with the Navy's often articulated "distributed lethality" strategy. This concept, underway for a year or two now, involves numerous initiatives to better arm its fleet with offensive and defensive weapons, maintain a technological advantage over adversaries such as the fast-growing Russian and Chinese navies, and strengthen its "blue water" combat abilities against potential near-peer rivals, among other things.

Arming the Littoral Combat Ship, and its more survivable and lethal variant, the Frigate, is designed to better equip the LCS for shallow and open water combat against a wider range of potential adversaries, such as enemy surface ships, drones, helicopters, small boats and maneuvering attack craft, at beyond-the-horizon ranges.

The LCS is already equipped with 30mm and 57mm guns to destroy closer-in enemy targets such as swarms of small boats and the Navy is also engineering a maritime variant of the HELLFIRE Missile aboard the ship to destroy approaching enemy targets from "within the horizon.

Offline DWG

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #114 on: June 17, 2017, 05:50:36 pm »
Underwater CEC was a thing they studied a couple decades ago, IIRC, but it's painfully hard.  Acoustic track data is never as precise as electromagnetic and there's a lot of misleading noise, so track consolidation is a nightmare.  And many of the units you want in the network (submarines and eventually UUVs) don't have real-time RF connectivity to share a track picture anyway, so you're always handicapped by that.

I was reading the report on Sea Tentacle a couple of days ago, the 2005 Naval Postgraduate School TSSE project for a ship to deploy a distributed ASW UUV array across a 100x70nm area, and the model they were using was a central hub (a 'connector sled) in each 10x10nm block with an acoustic modem to talk to non-wired UUVs (it also had 16 wired sensor UUVs) and a deployable comms buoy if it needed to report a track back to the mothership, which carried two MH-60Rs and two Firescouts, plus VL-ASROC for prosecuting targets.

Parts of the CONOPs seemed seriously flawed, but the idea of a comms node seemed reasonable, sort of an undersea version of BACN.

https://web.nps.edu/Academics/GSEAS/TSSE/subPages/Projects.html

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Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #116 on: July 31, 2017, 12:59:24 pm »
"Experts question the US Navy’s ideas for a new frigate"
by David B. Larter   3 days ago

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/07/28/experts-question-the-navys-ideas-for-a-new-frigate/


Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #117 on: September 15, 2017, 08:50:48 pm »
"DSEI 2017: Lockheed Martin Unveils LCS 125M Concept Design for US Navy FFG(X)"

Published: Wednesday, 13 September 2017 00:10

Source:
https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/dsei-2017-show-daily-news/5562-dsei-2017-lockheed-martin-unveils-lcs-125m-concept-design-for-us-navy-ffg-x.html

Quote
At DSEI 2017, the international defense trade show currently held in London, UK, Lockheed Martin unveiled the new LCS 125 meters. A company representative explained that this "concept" is representative of Lockheed Martin's answer to the U.S. Navy FFG(X) requirement.

he US Department of Defense released a Request for Information (RFI) in July this year to let the industry know what the U.S. Navy is expecting from the Fast Frigate, Guided (Experimental) or FFG(X). The RFI says, "A competition for FFG(X) is envisioned to consider existing parent designs for a Small Surface Combatant that can be modified to accommodate the specific capability requirements prescribed by the US Navy."


The U.S. Navy wants a frigate that can keep up with carrier strike groups as well as conduct missions on its own. “The FFG(X) will normally aggregate into strike groups and Large Surface Combatant led surface action groups but also possess the ability to robustly defend itself during conduct of independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid.” The U.S. Navy expects the frigate to be survivable in complex scenarios: "FFG(X) will perform its missions in complex electronic warfare and anti-ship missile threat environments".

The new Frigate would likely replace the troubled, very modular, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for typical "frigate missions". The U.S. Navy is requesting the FFG(X) to conduct the following missions:
- Over the horizon anti-surface warfare (ASuW )
- Anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
- Independently escort logistics ship convoys
- Electronic warfare (EW)
- Electronic signals intelligence and collection (ELINT)

The frigate displacement isn't mentionned in the RFI, but it is likely to be comprised between 4000 tons (if the design is to stay as close as possible to the LCS) and in excess of 6000 tons (in view of the requirements set by the U.S. Navy, which is particularly interested on how the shipbuilders can fit VLS for ESSM and Standard Missiles and how many).

The U.S. Navy intends to award a Detail Design and Construction contract for the first FFG(X) in 2020.

Lockheed Martin latest Frigate design is based on the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The frigate measures 125 meters in length (compared to the 115 meters of the LCS). Lockheed Martin representatives didn't wish to go into detailed specifications in terms of displacement, width and draft. Its crew complement is 130 sailors (compared to a crew of 65 sailors on the LCS).

The scale model unveiled at DSEI features 16x anti-ship missiles, likely LRASM (Lockheed stressed they can fit any type of missile selected by the customer): 8x forward, below the bridge and 8x more aft, on top of the helicopter hangar. There are also 16x Mk 41 VLS cells for ESSM and/or Standard Missiles. The main gun is a BAE Systems Bofors Mk110 57mm as per the RFI. There is a SeaRAM launcher on top of the helicopter hangar on top of the helicopter hangar as per the RFI as well.

Other additions (when compared to the baseline LCS) inlcude two SEWIP EW antennas/jammers, 4x Nulka decoy launchers, 2x RWS (which appear to be the Seahawk by MSI Defence) and 2x fire control radars, all located on top of the main structure.

The propulsion system remains unchanged, however we noted one last addition on the frigate's hull: the presence of bilge keels. They increase hydrodynamic resistance to rolling, making the ship roll less. Bilge keels are passive stability systems.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 08:53:54 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #118 on: September 15, 2017, 08:56:15 pm »
RFI: FFG(X) - US Navy Guided Missile Frigate Replacement Program
Solicitation Number: N0002418R2300
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: Naval Sea Systems Command
Location: NAVSEA HQ

Solicitation Number:
N0002418R2300
Notice Type:
Sources Sought
Synopsis:
Added: Jul 10, 2017 1:10 pm


Synopsis: THIS REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) IS FOR INFORMATIONAL AND PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY AND SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED AS A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL, REQUEST FOR QUOTE, OR AS AN OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. THERE WILL NOT BE A SOLICITATION, SPECIFICATIONS, OR DRAWINGS AVAILABLE. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT MAY OR MAY NOT TRANSLATE INTO AN ACTUAL PROCUREMENT(S) IN FUTURE YEARS. THERE IS NO FUNDING ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ANNOUNCEMENT.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cdf24447b8015337e910d330a87518c6&tab=core&_cview=0

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #119 on: September 15, 2017, 09:14:54 pm »
"Navy Releases Details of New FFG(X) Guided-Missile Frigate Program in Request to Industry"
By: Megan Eckstein
July 10, 2017 12:39 PM • Updated: July 10, 2017 1:33 PM

Source:
https://news.usni.org/2017/07/10/navy-releases-details-of-new-ffgx-guided-missile-frigate-program-in-request-to-industry

Quote
The Navy released the first formal details on what it wants in its guided-missile frigate in a new request for information to industry issued today. The new ship concept outlined in the RFI in many ways resembles the Navy’s previous frigate plans but also looks at upgrades like more powerful radars and vertical-launch missile tubes.

The RFI notes the Navy is still seeking industry input on a variety of capabilities – including, how to incorporate missile launchers for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 and Standard Missile (SM)-2, according to an early draft of the RFI obtained by USNI News.

However, the document outlines many key details on the frigate’s mission set, the weapons systems the Navy would like it to employ and the ship class’s procurement profile.

Much like the Littoral Combat Ship that currently fills the small surface combatant role, the FFG(X) mission will focus heavily on unmanned systems, using them to expand “sensor and weapon influence to provide increased information to the overall fleet tactical picture while challenging adversary ISR&T (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting) efforts.”

“This platform will employ unmanned systems to penetrate and dwell in contested environments, operating at greater risk to gain sensor and weapons advantages over the adversary,” according to the RFI.

“The FFG(X) will be capable of establishing a local sensor network using passive onboard sensors, embarked aircraft and elevated/tethered systems and unmanned vehicles to gather information and then act as a gateway to the fleet tactical grid using resilient communications systems and networks.”

In many ways, this FFG(X) design goes beyond what today’s LCS can do, particularly as it relates to surface warfare. 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.

“During Phase 1 (Deter Aggression) and Phase 2 (Seize the Initiative) operations, the FFG(X) will normally aggregate into strike groups and Large Surface Combatant-led surface action groups but also possess the ability to robustly defend itself during conduct of independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid,” the RFI reads.

As a result, it will have to be equipped with more sophisticated hard-kill and soft-kill technologies to protect itself during independent operations, or to protect logistics ships during escort missions in low- and medium-threat environments, which the RFI warns will include “complex electronic warfare and anti-ship missile threat environments.”

A major argument against the LCS – and the Navy’s first crack at the frigate requirements, which would have been an improved multi-mission version of the LCS – was that it did not have a Vertical Launching System to contribute to air defense missions. The Navy still has not worked out how to incorporate VLS into its frigate plans, and the RFI does not include VLS in its chart of required weapon systems but rather requests input from potential shipbuilders on how to incorporate the missile launchers. Though this issue doesn’t have an engineering solution yet, the new name of the ship class – guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) compared to the previously named frigate (FF) – suggests a dedication to resolving this issue.

“To increase the FFG(X) self-defense, the Navy is particularly interested in understanding the trade space surrounding the addition of Launcher Capability to support Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 2 and/or Standard Missile-2 Active missiles,” according to the RFI.

“Solutions should describe the launcher type, cell quantities the proposed design could accommodate, and if able to be cost-effectively integrated include considerations for strike length variants to maximize weapons flexibility. The Navy is also interested in the potential space, weight, and volume the launcher represents that can be included in the FFG(X) design as well as how many cells could be accommodated if design changes were pursued along with understanding the capability trades and cost impacts of those changes. Any innovative approach vendors may have in providing a Launch System or increasing capacity by making design trades across FFG(X) requirements will also be considered.”

Many of the required weapons systems are pulled from the previous FF requirements: the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, which pulls software from the same common source library as the Aegis Combat System on large surface combatants; the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system; a canister-launched over-the-horizon missile; the surface-to-surface Longbow Hellfire missile; the Mk53 Nulka decoy launching system; the Surface Electron Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 program with SLQ-32(V)6; and a slew of undersea warfare tools such as the AN/SLQ-61 light weight tow, AN/SQS-62 variable depth sonar and AN/SQQ-89F undersea warfare/anti-submarine warfare combat system. It also requires use of the MK 110 57mm gun with the Advanced Low Cost Munition Ordnance (ALaMO) projectile being developed for the LCS and frigate.

Other required weapon systems would promote commonality with larger ships in the fleet, such as the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), a larger variant of which will go on future Ford-class aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.

The RFI demonstrates an attempt to address the biggest concerns from LCS and FF detractors, chiefly in the inability to contribute in a meaningful way to air warfare. But the similarities between the requirements in this RFI and the previous FF plans are hard to ignore – and the RFI itself even makes the same argument that Navy officials have been making for years, that the small surface combatant shouldn’t have the same capabilities as a large surface combatant but rather should be able to take on lower-threat missions and allow cruisers and destroyers to handle more complex work around the globe.

The RFI states that one of the FFG(X)’s two main purposes is to “relieve large surface combatants from stressing routine duties during operations other than war.” It goes on to say later that “this ship will reduce demand on high-end cruisers and destroyers that currently conduct [anti-submarine warfare], [surface warfare], and theater security cooperation missions, allowing for an increase of more capable assets to maintain a stabilizing presence in regions where tensions with nations that have highly capable naval forces may exist.”

The RFI outlines a 20-ship class that procures one hull a year for two years and then two a year moving forward, though the Navy welcomes feedback on more affordable procurement profiles. The service would be looking to award a detail design and construction contract in Fiscal Year 2020, as leadership announced this spring – a one-year delay from its previous plans to allow another pass at the ship’s requirements and the inclusion of bidders beyond just Austal USA and Lockheed Martin that build today’s LCSs.

The RFI was posted online today, and responses from industry are due back on Aug. 24.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 09:20:39 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #120 on: September 15, 2017, 09:38:55 pm »
"In a Blow to LCS, the US Navy Finally Admits it Needs a Real Frigate"
by Joseph Trevithick

July 10, 2017

Source:
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/12324/in-a-blow-to-lcs-the-us-navy-finally-admits-it-needs-a-real-frigate

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #121 on: November 27, 2017, 12:03:38 pm »
Navantia and Bath Iron Works team to meet USN FFG(X) requirement



Quote
Navantia of Spain has teamed with US shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to offer a joint solution to the US Navy’s (USN) future guided missile frigate requirement (FFG[X]).

The alliance was announced on 23 November.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Bath Iron Works on the FFG(X) programme,” Navantia President Esteban Garcia Vilasanchez said in a statement.

“Our alliance began in the 1980s when we worked together to bring the design of the FFG Oliver Hardy Perry / Santa Maria to Spain.”

The agreement foresees an offer based on evolved designs of the AEGIS-equipped family of F-100 frigates of Navantia, which were selected by The Royal Australian Navy to meet its Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) requirement and the Royal Norwegian Navy (which introduced the design as the Fridtjof Nansen class).

Lockheed Martin and Navantia renewed a 20-year accord relating to AEGIS co-operation in October this year.

The USN issued a request for proposals (RFP) on 7 November in relation to the FFG(X) programme. A design is sought based on an existing ship that has been through production.

The frigate is seen as a successor to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme, although the US Congressional Research Service reported in October that the “FFG(X) design will likely be larger in terms of displacement [and] more heavily armed.”
Old radar types never die; they just phased array - Unknown

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #122 on: November 27, 2017, 12:19:40 pm »
Cost: F101/4 €453m (~US$600m) each F105 €834m (~US$1.1bn)

Isn't that serious overkill for a frigate we want to buy in not insignificant numbers?  That'd be expensive even just off the shelf, never mind the added costs of making it a USN ship and building it in the US.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #123 on: November 27, 2017, 05:04:20 pm »
Cost: F101/4 €453m (~US$600m) each F105 €834m (~US$1.1bn)

Isn't that serious overkill for a frigate we want to buy in not insignificant numbers?  That'd be expensive even just off the shelf, never mind the added costs of making it a USN ship and building it in the US.
Word I'm seeing this last little while is that they're "hoping" for less than $1bn sail-away cost.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #124 on: November 27, 2017, 07:41:09 pm »

Online sferrin

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #125 on: November 28, 2017, 05:05:10 am »
Cost: F101/4 €453m (~US$600m) each F105 €834m (~US$1.1bn)

Isn't that serious overkill for a frigate we want to buy in not insignificant numbers?  That'd be expensive even just off the shelf, never mind the added costs of making it a USN ship and building it in the US.

F-105 is, in many respects, a small DDG51- no reason it should be especially cheap. F-105 is a high-end destroyer in Europe.

Exactly my point.  How do they think using something based on that, and trying to switch production to the US to boot, as well as modify it to meet USN requirements, is going to be cheap enough to build in large numbers? If all they're talking about is using the hull that's another matter I suppose, but still likely more expensive than a design built in the US, to USN standards, from the get go.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #126 on: November 28, 2017, 10:40:55 am »
Some interesting points about selecting and building (in a different shipyard) from a Parent design.  This is from the Canadian document referenced above relating the problems the Australians encountered.

"
Using an existing design: A cautionary tale - Australia’s Hobart-class destroyer


National Defence has decided to build an existing surface combatant design to reduce both time and cost. Though this can be the case, it does not always work out as planned, as was discovered by Australia with its Hobart-class destroyer.

Australia selected the Spanish F100 or Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate as its design for the Hobart. Australia’s motivation for selecting the F100 was the same as that of National Defence for selecting an existing design: to save time and money rather than pursuing a new design.

Unfortunately, Australia has encountered numerous problems. The project is expected to be at least 15 per cent over budget ($9.2 billion AUS versus the original budget of $8.0 billion AUS) and 2 1/2 years late for the first ship (delayed from December 2014 to June 2017).68 With the winning design selected in June 2007, it will be 10 years between design selection and commissioning of the first ship.

Of the numerous problems Australia has encountered in building the Hobart, some are clearly not applicable to the CSC (multiple shipyard building the blocks and DND playing multiple roles – customer, supplier and partner).

For the CSC, Irving shipyards in Halifax is the only entity building the ships, DND’s only role is that of the customer; Irving is the prime contractor and it is responsible for awarding the subcontracts for the design and modifications.

Nevertheless, there are three areas in which Canada has the potential to encounter problems similar to those of Australia’s: underestimating the risks of the Canadian specific redesign; a shipyard with no warship construction experience; and the potential for sub-standard technology transfer from the original ship designer/builder to Irving.

Underestimating the effort required to make changes to an existing warship design is not surprising when given some thought. Warships are not like ice breakers or patrol ships; they are very dense with complicated interactions among all the systems.

The word “dense” in this context refers to how jam-packed the ship is with equipment, cabling, redundancy requirements, water and smoke tight compartments, and extra layers of protection. Warships don’t generally have extra space to easily add stuff, though a good ship design does provide some displacement margin to add equipment during the lifetime of the ship.

Nevertheless, the effort to make a design change to a warship is not linear: changing one item, function or feature will necessarily have multiple knock-on changes multiplying the cost and effort of the change. This is a risk that is often underestimated when making changes to the design that Canada eventually selects.
The second cost-increasing problem Canada will encounter is the lack of experience in building warships, which is not the same as building ice breakers or patrol ships. Warships are considerably more complicated to build and integrate. With this in mind, the learning curve for a shipyard that has not had previous experience building warships will be steep with a higher cost for the first unit.

As described above, this steep learning curve will result in higher construction costs (for at least the first eight ships) than those incurred by a shipyard that has previous warship construction experience.
The third area in which Canada is likely to see increased costs is the technology transfer between the original shipyard and Canada. It is difficult to capture all the nuances of building a ship through digital data files. There is organic knowledge that a shipyard develops during the construction process that is not captured in the design files.

One last item is to understand the cost premium Australia is paying to build the Hobart-class ships itself.74 For an estimated total budget of $9.2 billion AUS, Australia will acquire three destroyers at an average cost of $3.07 billion AUS each (includes all fixed costs).

In comparison, the Arleigh Burke flight IIA is 50 per cent larger than the Hobart and cost $1.9 billion in FY2010 with a 2017 delivery date.

Currently, the American dollar is worth 1.33 Australian dollars. The following calculations are all in billions of dollars.

1. Convert Aleigh Burke cost to Australian: $1.9 US x 1.33 = $2.53 AUS
2. Apply US foreign military sales surcharge: $2.53 x 1.047 = $2.65 AUS
3. Multiply by three to get the average cost of three ships including all costs: $2.65 x 3 = $7.95 AUS
4. Extra Australia has paid for three ships that are two-thirds the size of the price of an Arleigh Burke: $9.2 – $7.95 = $1.25 billion AUS

Consequently, this is 16 per cent higher for three smaller ships rather than just buying an Arleigh Burke from the United States.

As the previous endnote discusses, the above comparison is to the cost of an Arleigh Burke second in the learning curve. If the comparison was to the marginal cost of the ninth ship (that is, end of learning curve), it is estimated that the Arleigh Burkes would cost $1.43 billion US each. 

Redoing the previous calculations:

1. Convert Aleigh Burke cost to Australian: $1.43 US x 1.33 = $1.90 AUS
2. Apply US foreign military sales surcharge: $1.90 x 1.047 = $1.99 AUS
3. Multiply by three for three ships: $1.99 x 3 = $5.97 AUS
4. Extra Australia has paid for three ships that are two-thirds the size of the price of an Arleigh Burke: $9.2 – $5.97 = $3.23 billion AUS

So, using the estimated ninth ship marginal cost, Australia will pay $3.23 billion AUS, or 54 per cent, more for ships two-thirds the size.
"
 
==========

With the
1. effort put into the the Saudi Multi-Mission Surface Combatant, and
2. the "Parent" design (afloat) requirement,
3. the similarity between the Key Threshold attributes listed in the RFI and the MMSC, and
4. the similarity between the Major Weapons Systems listed in the RFI and the MMSC, and
5. the fact that the Saudi's are paying for at least the first four MMSC's on the way to the nine estimated to complete the labor learning curve,
it seems unlikely that any other solution will do.

This open RFI has more to do with putting pressure on pricing than an actual competition.

It will be interesting to see how quickly they can take cost out of the manufacturing process.  With only 10-15 years of production it doesn't have much chance to get "DDG efficient".  If it's as capable as they make out then perhaps it would make sense to encourage additional quantities.



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Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #128 on: October 01, 2018, 07:34:51 am »
https://news.usni.org/2018/08/16/report-congress-u-s-navy-frigate-ffgx-program-3

https://blog.usni.org/posts/2018/09/26/ffgx-should-we-follow-the-usafs-lead
Salamander's headline is perhaps less effective a few days after USAF picked a clean-sheet design for T-X over existing designs largely on the grounds that it was better suited and more affordable. I respect his opinion, but after decades of demanding the Navy build a European-style Frigate I think he's become overly dismissive of the potential for US shipyards to put together a competitive proposal. I also don't find his "you just don't like it because its foreign!" response, our ships and aircraft use a number of systems developed outside the US, and both LCS designs started with "off the shelf" foreign shipyard hulls before being made into mess systems they are today.

Offline Kat Tsun

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #129 on: January 20, 2019, 08:39:04 pm »
It's a bit curious to me why ships like the FREMM and F100, which are fairly massive and well armed/outfitted, are being considered, but smaller foreign designs like Asashi or Fridtjof Nansen seem to have been ignored. Were these proposed by any contractors at any point during FFG(X) run up, or is the USN only considering in production/in service designs rather than ultra-modern or out-of-production one? Asashi in particular seems to be well suited to the constraints of FFG(X), with a modest armament comparable to F100-class, but a superior combat system, and a supposed cost of less than a billion USD.

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #130 on: January 22, 2019, 07:13:34 am »
It's a bit curious to me why ships like the FREMM and F100, which are fairly massive and well armed/outfitted, are being considered, but smaller foreign designs like Asashi or Fridtjof Nansen seem to have been ignored. Were these proposed by any contractors at any point during FFG(X) run up, or is the USN only considering in production/in service designs rather than ultra-modern or out-of-production one? Asashi in particular seems to be well suited to the constraints of FFG(X), with a modest armament comparable to F100-class, but a superior combat system, and a supposed cost of less than a billion USD.

They are only considering designs proposed by industry.  And it would appear that no industry group offered the designs you mention.  (Navantia and GD presumably looked at both the F85 Fridtjof Nansen and F100 Alvaro de Bazan and decided that the larger ship was more suitable.)

Notice that the only parts of the parent designs that are being used "as is" are basically hull and mechanical systems. The FFG(X) requirements actually call out a specific combat system (COMBATSS-21), radar (EASR), and other systems to be provided as Government-Furnished Equipment. So all the competitors will be including that outfit, rather than the original combat systems in the parent designs.  Even if someone had wanted to offer the Asahi combat system with Ga, for example, that would not be a responsive bid. 

Edit:  I wanted to add that the combat system spec'd for FFG(X) is definitely more sophisticated than the combat systems in most of the parent designs being proposed.  EASR is a gallium nitride (GaN) radar with a similar technology base to the FCS-3A in the Asahi class, for example.  So don't assume that the US Navy is getting an old technology ship here, they're just trying to get something with a relative known quantity hull and mechanical systems to carry a modern combat system.







« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 07:09:55 am by TomS »

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #131 on: January 23, 2019, 06:21:00 am »
https://news.usni.org/2019/01/22/navy-squeezing-costs-ffgx-program-requirements-solidify

Embedded in this story is a slide deck showing the combat system requirements for FFG(X).




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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #132 on: January 23, 2019, 09:16:09 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #133 on: January 23, 2019, 09:28:59 am »
https://news.usni.org/2019/01/22/navy-squeezing-costs-ffgx-program-requirements-solidify

Embedded in this story is a slide deck showing the combat system requirements for FFG(X).
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Combined with referring to it as "multi-mission" rather than some variant of "mission-tailored" language, and the rather beefy objective weapons load, the final pitches are going to be pretty interesting.


Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.
SUW
OTH fire control system
OTH 2x4(T)/ 2x8(obj)

Current OTH = Naval Strike Missile, so the threshold requirement is 8 NSM and objective is 16.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 09:32:53 am by Moose »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #134 on: January 23, 2019, 09:30:35 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The SUW section requires at least 2x4 (Threshold; 2x8 Objective) Over-The-Horizon missiles (aka NSM).






Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #135 on: January 23, 2019, 10:09:16 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).






Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #136 on: January 23, 2019, 10:16:32 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).
The shape and fullness of the bow also look markedly different than LCS-1, I'm trying not too read too much into the silhouette but I definitely wouldn't be shocked if they gave it a more conventional displacement hull to improve ride and efficiency.

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #137 on: January 23, 2019, 10:55:50 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).
The shape and fullness of the bow also look markedly different than LCS-1, I'm trying not too read too much into the silhouette but I definitely wouldn't be shocked if they gave it a more conventional displacement hull to improve ride and efficiency.

Given that the max speed regime is so radically different (26-28kts vs 40 knots), a new hull would certainly make sense for FFG(X).  That semi-planning hull only makes any sense if you need to push 40 knots.  But at that point, how is it a proven design if they've swapped out the hull, the superstructure, and most of the combat system? 

Even the Austal FFG(X) design seems to be stretching the definitions on this. Switching to Diesel/CP props from GT/waterjets is pretty radical.  The trimaran hull at least is still usable at lower speed regimes.

PS: I don't think they've replaced the "parent hull" language.  The reference to "mature designs" in the slide deck is about the purpose of the FY18 awards: Mature,  Reduce, and Identify are all action verbs there.  (They use the same construct in the present tense on slide 7: Matures, Reduces, Identifies.)

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #138 on: January 25, 2019, 03:41:31 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.
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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #139 on: January 25, 2019, 06:27:27 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 16 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 08:34:50 am by sferrin »
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #140 on: January 25, 2019, 06:54:17 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???

Clearly not self-defense length because VL ASROC and SM-2 Block IIIC require at least tactical length.  And there is no indication that the USN has ever seriously considered adopting tactical-length VLS on US ships. 

No mention of TLAM because they probably don't intend to include the Tomahawk mission planning hardware (TTWCS) or associated crew members necessary for TLAM employment.  There is no shortage of TLAM shooters around the fleet, so adding that to the frigates would mean extra spending on hardware and manning that the Navy doesn't need.

No mention of LRASM because 1) VL-launched LRASM is not actually a USN program of record right now.  2) It's not clear when the actual program of record (NGLAW) will deliver an antiship capability.  3) NGLAW will probably need the same sort of infrastructure as TLAM, so see above.

OTH/NSM offers plenty of performance for a ship like FFG(X).  Seriously, it outranges Harpoon Block I and roughly matches Block II, which should be ample coverage for frigate role. If and when longer-range weapons actually show up in the fleet, there will be plenty of time to consider which ships should carry them.

Excluding weapons like TLAM and LRASM is basically the same as excluding SM-3 (which they also did). There are enough other shooters for those weapons in the fleet that it makes no sense to spend money to add those capabilities to the frigates as well.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 08:16:17 am by TomS »

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #141 on: January 25, 2019, 08:22:36 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 8 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.  (Not sure why the two pictures are so different.  They're both supposedly members of the same class.  ??? )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate

Thpse pictures are not the same class.  One is a Grigorovich class ship, not a Gorshkov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Grigorovich-class_frigate

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #142 on: January 25, 2019, 08:35:04 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 8 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.  (Not sure why the two pictures are so different.  They're both supposedly members of the same class.  ??? )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate

Thpse pictures are not the same class.  One is a Grigorovich class ship, not a Gorshkov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Grigorovich-class_frigate

Okay, fixed.
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #143 on: January 26, 2019, 11:33:03 am »
Just wanted to revisit this and talk about your main point re armament.

So, the Gorshkov has 16 AShMs, and 32 cells for SAMs.  This is actually the same as the objective armament for the FFG(X).  The only real difference is that the Russian ship's AShM are heavy, long-range weapons intead of "merely" 100+ mile light antiship weapons.  Why?  Because the Russian and US navies still have different views on the role of small combatants as offensive assets.  The USN sees carrier aircraft still as their primary offensive arm (hence the emphasis on puttling LRASM on Super Hornet rather than surface ships), while the Russians see their destroyers as having a greater offensive role.  Which is necessary because otherwise they have one barely operational carrier and a small (but potentially potent) submarine force.

Also, FFG(X) will have a few more capabilities in the surveillance and defensive role that the Gorshkovs lack.  They carry both a helicopter and a sizable drone MQ-8C), both towed array and variable depth sonars (Gorshkovs has only the towed part), and a fairly robust torpedo defense capability.  And some really robust EW as well, both SEWIP and AOEW on the helicopter (or maybe even the drone).

PS: almost forgot that SM-2MR Block IIIC brings the same high-speed antiship capability as SM-6, just with less range.  That's a fair counterpart to the speed of the Russian AShMs.

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #144 on: January 26, 2019, 12:14:56 pm »
Just wanted to revisit this and talk about your main point re armament.

So, the Gorshkov has 16 AShMs, and 32 cells for SAMs.  This is actually the same as the objective armament for the FFG(X).  The only real difference is that the Russian ship's AShM are heavy, long-range weapons intead of "merely" 100+ mile light antiship weapons.  Why?  Because the Russian and US navies still have different views on the role of small combatants as offensive assets.  The USN sees carrier aircraft still as their primary offensive arm (hence the emphasis on puttling LRASM on Super Hornet rather than surface ships), while the Russians see their destroyers as having a greater offensive role.  Which is necessary because otherwise they have one barely operational carrier and a small (but potentially potent) submarine force.

Also, FFG(X) will have a few more capabilities in the surveillance and defensive role that the Gorshkovs lack.  They carry both a helicopter and a sizable drone MQ-8C), both towed array and variable depth sonars (Gorshkovs has only the towed part), and a fairly robust torpedo defense capability.  And some really robust EW as well, both SEWIP and AOEW on the helicopter (or maybe even the drone).

PS: almost forgot that SM-2MR Block IIIC brings the same high-speed antiship capability as SM-6, just with less range.  That's a fair counterpart to the speed of the Russian AShMs.

Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #145 on: January 28, 2019, 08:53:53 am »
Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o

Right.  But the point is, the Russian sips have those missiles because they serve a different role in the Russian fleet than US frigates (and for that matter, other surface combatants in general) serve in the USN. 

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #146 on: January 28, 2019, 10:03:19 am »
Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o

Right.  But the point is, the Russian sips have those missiles because they serve a different role in the Russian fleet than US frigates (and for that matter, other surface combatants in general) serve in the USN.

And I get that but they could be that much more versatile with the capability.  Does it really cost that much money to add TLAM capability when the VLS is already there?  (A shame there will never be a LRASM-B or RATTLRS to put in them.)
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #147 on: January 28, 2019, 12:18:29 pm »
And I get that but they could be that much more versatile with the capability.  Does it really cost that much money to add TLAM capability when the VLS is already there?  (A shame there will never be a LRASM-B or RATTLRS to put in them.)

 I couldn't find an actual unit price per installation, but it definitely isn't trivial.  The modern Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System installation on surface combatants is four operator consoles, three electronics equipment cabinets, and some ancillary hardware  (Subs make do with one operator console, but presumably lose functionality). A few million dollars per ship for TTWCS electronics would make a noticable difference in the program cost. 

And the operating costs are obviously significant too -- four consoles probably means at least four bodies, with the personnel and training costs that go with them.  That adds up on a ship that already is supposed to have fairly lean manning and Blue-Gold rotating crews.