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Littoral Combat Ship - Freedom/Independence

Triton

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Is the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) dead after Lockheed-Martin's USS Freedom (LCS-1) and General Dynamics/Austal USS Independence (LCS-2). The last I heard the US Navy was going to re-open bidding. Has the Navy decided to not resurrect this program or has it just not gotten around to sending its bid requests?
 

Just call me Ray

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That doesn't make a lot of sense (but then again rarely anything in politics does anymore) the whole point of having LockMart and NG two their separate ship designs on their own would be so that the Navy gets to try out each ship design on their own, and then start the bidding process.
 

Triton

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Just call me Ray said:
That doesn't make a lot of sense (but then again rarely anything in politics does anymore) the whole point of having LockMart and NG two their separate ship designs on their own would be so that the Navy gets to try out each ship design on their own, and then start the bidding process.
The last I read, the plan was that the winning bidder would make two ships while the loser would make only one of the next three units. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Austal, not Northrop Grumman, and the Lockheed Martin ships designs are so different, who dreamed up this idea and for what reasons?
 

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Back in 2007, these were some of the the main robotic systems (not entirely accurately referred to as USVs) that the Navy was planning to use.

The Navy wants to develop four main classes of USVs. Three of them would be armed.

The three-meter long "X-Class" machines would be for "low-end" snooping and reconnaissance; like a robotic jet ski, with a camera attached.

The "Harbor Class" would be based on the Navy’s seven meter long rigid-hulled inflatable boats, or RIBs. These unmanned Zodiacs would be used for dropping mine countermeasures, and fending off boat-borne bad guys with a mix of "lethal and non-lethal armament."

The "Snorkeler Class" is a stealthy, seven-meter submersible that would stay in the water for up to a day at a time, tow ing mine- and sub-finding-gear — and maybe even carrying a torpedo or two.

Lastly, there’s the "Fleet Class," capable of staying in the water for 48 hours straight, and reaching speeds of up to 35 knots. The eleven-meter long USV would be used to do everything from carrying commandos to shore, jamming enemy communications, neutralizing mines, and delivering a "Harbor Class" drone. Naturally, it would carry its own guns and torpedoes, too, so it could conduct ‘high end’ surface warfare missions."
The original USN 'USV Master Plan': http://www.navy.mil/navydata/technology/usvmppr.pdf

The “Harbor Class” is based on the Navy Standard 7m RIB and is focused on the
MS Mission, with a robust ISR capability and a mix of lethal and non-lethal
armament. The “Harbor Class” USV can be supported by the majority of our
Fleet, since it will use the standard 7m interfaces.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcs-wtf-of-week.html

Abandon Ship! All Hands, Abandon Ship!
 

Grey Havoc

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A little more info on some of the USN/Industry development efforts regarding robotic systems: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=713
 

Grey Havoc

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Via Maritime Memos:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-22/fastship-live-nation-google-vw-ca-intellectual-property

The closely held company plans to use bankruptcy to create a trust that would pursue a patent-infringement lawsuit against the U.S. government and repay creditors with any proceeds, Bullard said. A new $650 million U.S. Navy combat ship relies on designs owned by FastShip, Bullard said.

“The debtors believe a strong claim exists against the U.S. government for patent infringement,” the company said in court papers.

EDIT: FastShip dry docks in Ch. 11 (The Deal Pipeline)

FastShip believes the U.S. Navy violated its patents by building $650 million worth of high-speed combat vessels at the same time the debtor's business plan was failing. FastShip said it attempted to reach a settlement with the Navy when it filed an administrative claim against it in April 2008. Two years later, the Navy summarily denied FastShip's claim.


[IMAGE CREDIT: MARINE LOG]​
 

Grey Havoc

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Lockheed Martin' Surface Combat Ship, export variant of the Freedom class LCS, equipped on this scale model with AEGIS, MK41 VLS, Oto Melara 76mm and Millenium 35mm guns.

Link to LMACS (Lockheed Martin Agile Management System] entry over on navyrecognition.com (part of their DIMDEX 2012 coverage).​
 

Triton

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Grey Havoc said:

Lockheed Martin' Surface Combat Ship, export variant of the Freedom class LCS, equipped on this scale model with AEGIS, MK41 VLS, Oto Melara 76mm and Millenium 35mm guns.

Link to LMACS (Lockheed Martin Agile Management System] entry over on navyrecognition.com (part of their DIMDEX 2012 coverage).​
The model is of the LCS-I configuration that was offered to Israel.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.informationdissemination.net/2012/05/still-working-out-kinks.html

http://www.cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2012/05/lcs-1-no-go.html

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_05_09_2012_p0-456228.xml

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=%2Farticle-xml%2Fawx_05_09_2012_p0-456237.xml


Words fail me.
 

Arjen

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Grey Havoc said:
Words fail me.
How about Terminal Optimism When Facing Adversity? Or Stone Soup?
 

Grey Havoc

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From Maritime Memos:

More on Austal USA

The word from my man on the ASX, (the Australian Securities Exchange), is that Austal's bankers are all in a tizzy about the huge sums of money that Austal USA is losing on the LCS and JHSV programs, at a time when their Australian yards are not generating enough to make up for it. So, step up and move in, please, General Dynamics. June 27, 2012.


News from Austal USA

Austal USA's President, Joe Rella, has indeed resigned and Austal says that he has been replaced, on an interim basis, by Brian Leathers, the company's CFO. In addition, Craig Perciavalle has been promoted to Senior VP, Shipyard Operations. Read the announcement here. This change is described by Austal as "a natural step". I don't see what's natural about it, but who knows? I don't think this saga is over yet. June 26, 2012.


GD Taking Over Austal USA?

Upheaval in Mobile this week, with the resignation of Austal USA's President, Joe Rella, and the presence of Austal Chairman and Founder John Rothwell, accompanied by several members of the company's Board of Directors. The hot rumor is that a majority interest in the yard is being sold to GD, with ex-BIW President Dugan Shipway coming in as interim President. Probably not a bad idea, depending on how the company is restructured. Lots more to come on this topic, no doubt. Never a dull moment! June 26, 2012.
 

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From the same source:

Jamming Them In

Oh my, here's yet another fiasco involving the LCSs. Defense News reports that the Freedom-class boats are to have 20 additional berths installed to allow for an increase in the size of the core crew from 40 to 60. Read the story here. Note that these boats are already deficient in berth space, with extra berths being provided in containers located in space currently designated for mission modules. Great planning, guys! July 2, 2012.
 

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Time to raise Sir William White from the dead, give him a crash-course in modern shipbuilding and design methods, and let him loose. :p Surely he couldn't do any worse than this lot.
 

Grey Havoc

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Via gCaptain's Facebook page (Flickr Favorites Album):


[IMAGE CREDIT: US Navy/gCaptain]
Original Caption: USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sea trials, photo courtesy US Navy
 

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Planners originally envisaged the LCS as a replacement for the fleet’s frigates, minesweepers and patrol boats, but the new assessments conclude the ships are not equal to today’s frigates or mine countermeasures ships, and they are too large to operate as patrol boats.
The LCS, according to the assessments, is not able to fulfill most of the fleet missions required by the Navy’s primary strategy document, the “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” and included in a 2011 revision of the LCS CONOPS document.
Equipped with a surface warfare or maritime security mission package, the ships were judged capable of carrying out theater security cooperation and deterrence missions, and maritime security operations, such as anti-piracy.
But the LCS vessels cannot successfully perform three other core missions envisioned for them — forward presence, sea control or power projection missions — and they can provide only limited humanitarian assistance or disaster relief operations, sources said.
Jack of all some trades, master of none. Expensive, too.
 

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forward presence, sea control or power projection missions — and they can provide only limited humanitarian assistance or disaster relief operations, sources said.

Perhaps it's time to reinvent the category of "second-class cruiser" that the Victorian-era Royal Navy found so useful. A rapid-fire five-inch up front, OTO-Melara 76mm behind, CIWS somewhere handy and a 32-cell VLS for quadpack Sea Sparrow or some variant thereof and some SSMs, a platoon or so of Marines, some RHIBs and one or two large-ish helicopters. An armour belt that will keep out smallarms, man-portable recoilless rifles and RPGs.

And a yardarm, from which to hang pirates when caught.
 

Hobbes

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So basically a European frigate?
 

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Perhaps, but upsized for Atlantic and/or Pacific work rather than being optimized to the Mediterranean, for instance. A well-balanced and roomy ship, rather than a crowded one, with at least two Goalkeepers, Sea King an easy fit into the hangar, and very large magazines for the gun armament.


The main military opposition would be pirate speedboats plus fast patrol boats, corvettes and glamour-frigates operated by second-rate powers, with sustained rapid-fire surface support of landing teams a secondary mission - no pretence at intending to take on high-class opposition unaided, but the ability to hack down a first wave of SSMs or ASMs and launch enough Harpoons or Harpoon-successors to guarantee a spite-kill of a first-rate frigate or destroyer is implicit in the concept. To what extent it should be capable of ASW work, I have yet to decide.
 

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Via CDR Salamander: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120723/DEFREG02/307230006/Maintenance-Hurdles-Mount-New-USN-Ship?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE
 

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pathology_doc said:
Perhaps, but upsized for Atlantic and/or Pacific work rather than being optimized to the Mediterranean, for instance. A well-balanced and roomy ship, rather than a crowded one, with at least two Goalkeepers, Sea King an easy fit into the hangar, and very large magazines for the gun armament.
I was thinking of the current crop of European 'frigates', e.g. the F124 and Zeven Provinciën. Those aren't exactly small at around 6000t.
 

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Congressional Research Service report on the LCS program from June of this year: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL33741.pdf
 

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From AviationWeek:
U.S. Navy Officials Suppressed Bad LCS-1 Test Results

U.S. Navy emails and other documents suggest that officials muzzled bad test results for the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) variant, the USS Freedom, at a crucial time in the program’s development, when the service was considering which seaframe to pick for the $30 billion-plus fleet.
...
“I am disturbed by the Navy’s selective disclosure about what is going on in this program,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said after Aviation Week shared text of the emails with her staff. “If these had been good results, they would’ve hurried to the Hill to ring out the good news. Congress has the responsibility and obligation to be as knowledgeable as possible about the ships we purchase for our military forces. Most importantly, we must know whether these multibillion dollar programs will meet the operational needs and safety requirements for our troops.”
...
The documents show Navy officials planning to excise information that reflected badly on the ship, chastising subordinates for using certain negative language and cautioning them against using particular phrases that put the ship in a bad light.
For example, a fall 2010 report on the ship’s calm-water trials stated the “ship is inherently directionally unstable.” The report raised concerns that efforts to fix the instability could hamper overall maneuverability. In a Dec. 15, 2010 email about those calm-water trials Cmdr. James Garner, the Freedom’s commanding officer, told Cmdr. Matt Weber, the ship’s executive officer: “Good brief. Thanks for putting this together. I had a healthy conversation with Dan Brintzinghoffer today and he asked that we not use terms directional instability or the like in any briefings or discussions. The bottom line is concern with respect to the down select, but the definition of the term is also in question. I removed that in the brief but kept the bullets that discuss what we observed.”
...
In the wake of recent Aviation Week reports about current corrosion, system failures and design or fabrication issues aboard Freedom, Navy and Lockheed officials have touted the rigorous rounds of testing and operations the ship has undergone thus far.
But the email on Dec. 15, 2010, from Garner to Weber — shortly after Navy officials proposed the dual-buy plan — suggested the smooth-water testing was not as successful as had apparently been believed or reported to higher-ups. After the smooth-water trials, the ship’s rough-water trials were suspended in February 2011 because of hull and deckhouse cracking and rough seas. It has yet to pass those tests.
...
Defense analysts familiar with the LCS program say that although the ships were built with research and development (R&D) funding, they were not – until spring of this year – referred to as R&D ships.
...
But the cost to the Navy, Rep. Speier says, has been one of credibility, given the timing of the emails apparently meant to bury negative reports about LCS-1. “These emails seem to indicate test results were manipulated to hide the true level of risk in the LCS program,” she says. “This raises disturbing questions about the integrity of the information Congress received, and whether we are being given the information we need to be good custodians of taxpayer dollars. Congress must stop relying upon the Navy and Navsea to reassure us that these problems are being adequately addressed and should instead get an independent assessment of this program and its management.”
Others have questioned the timing of the Navy proposal. “Did the timing of the Navy’s proposal provide Congress with enough time to adequately assess the relative merits of the downselect strategy and the dual-award strategy?” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) asks.
CRS notes that contractors submitted their bids by mid-September of that year and also asks if the Navy could have notified Congress of the proposed dual-award strategy sooner than November 2010, giving Congress more time to seek information on and evaluate the proposal.
 

Grey Havoc

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Originally spotted over at MilitaryPhotos.net:
Special Report: Littoral Warfare (DefenseNews)​


[IMAGE CREDIT: US Navy/DefenseNews]​

EDIT: The image link has been restored, but once bitten, twice shy!​

Four Colors

The Navy already had decided on another basic change to Freedom for the Singapore deployment — painting the entire ship. Originally, only the steel hull was painted, and the aluminum superstructure was left untouched, primarily to eliminate the need to maintain the coatings.

Freedom's counterpart in the LCS program, the all-aluminum Independence, is not painted at all above the waterline.

But when Freedom emerges from drydock in late February, it should be sporting a new, four-color camouflage scheme conceived and designed by the Blue Crew — something not seen on a larger U.S. combatant ship in many years.

“I want my ship to look like a warship,” declared Thien, who commanded a coastal patrol crew that manned several camouflaged patrol boats. “If we're going to paint it, we might as well go all the way.”

While camouflaged ships were the norm in the world wars, the advent of radar made use of “dazzle” patterns less common, and today, only a few ships sport camouflage patterns. Small patrol units were camouflaged during the Vietnam War and for operations in the Arabian Gulf, and the gray schemes applied to most naval warships worldwide are considered a form of camouflage. But Freedom will become the first larger U.S. surface combatant in recent memory to be painted up in a multicolor camouflage pattern — haze white, haze gray, ocean gray and flat black.

Thien pointed out several features of the camo pattern and noted how the white patterns conveyed a false bow wave on the port side, while hinting at a false bow on the starboard pattern. The black areas are strategically laid over diesel engine exhausts in the ship's side, where they might hide smudge spots.

Camouflage can't hide a ship from radar or infrared or other sensors, according to Heinken.

“It could confuse their visual identification,” Heinken said. “Any time you can confuse an enemy's targeting problem, create doubt about a ship's true heading or identity, you could gain an advantage.”

And, he added, “operating against the shore, it could blend in, unlike a blue-water ship.”
 

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Grey Havoc

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http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.ie/2013/01/lcs-how-did-we-get-here.html
 

Grey Havoc

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Again via CDR Salamander:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb-mWG4uSek&feature=player_embedded&list=UUoOsgDcEkLaL1a3BT_H9FUA
 

Creative

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I hope Independence gets a paint job too because the current unpainted aluminum looks terrible.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130317/DEFREG02/303170001/U-S-Navy-Weighs-Halving-LCS-Order
 

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130317/DEFREG02/303170001/U-S-Navy-Weighs-Halving-LCS-Order
HOLY SH!T!!! Someone finally realized LCS is a toothless, under-crewed car-ferry and that Burkes aren't big enough to handle future requirements. What common sense will they come up with next?! Ramps on the America-class LHAs? Upping FRP plans for the F-35? Further F-22 development/production? Get serious about the CUDA missile? Deleting the unmanned (aka land-itself-in-Iran) option on LRS-B?
 

Arjen

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If modularity is so important to LCS, have its designers considered fitting Danish StanFlex modules? Or some derivative?
 

2IDSGT

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Arjen said:
If modularity is so important to LCS, have its designers considered fitting Danish StanFlex modules? Or some derivative?
Looks too late for that. The LCS modular concept would appear to be much-less integral (simply CONEXs shoved into the well-deck).

 

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2IDSGT said:
Looks too late for that. The LCS modular concept would appear to be much-less integral (simply CONEXs shoved into the well-deck)
That's what I was afraid of. About it being late: StanFlex has been around since the eighties, modules are in use, from missile launchers through SIGINT to VDS. Somebody in the LCS program must have been aware of its existence. Why do nothing with it?
 

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Arjen said:
2IDSGT said:
Looks too late for that. The LCS modular concept would appear to be much-less integral (simply CONEXs shoved into the well-deck)
That's what I was afraid of. About it being late: StanFlex has been around since the eighties, modules are in use, from missile launchers through SIGINT to VDS. Somebody in the LCS program must have been aware of its existence. Why do nothing with it?
Oh, for the same reasons that the Raytheon LCS design wasn't selected in preference to the two disasters that were, I'd say.
 

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Re: Raytheon's LCS. I didn't get a lot of warm fuzzies at the idea of a carbon fiber hull twice the size of the previous largest carbon fiber warship.
 

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TomS said:
Re: Raytheon's LCS. I didn't get a lot of warm fuzzies at the idea of a carbon fiber hull twice the size of the previous largest carbon fiber warship.
Neither would I anymore...

 

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That's what I was afraid of. About it being late: StanFlex has been around since the eighties, modules are in use, from missile launchers through SIGINT to VDS. Somebody in the LCS program must have been aware of its existence. Why do nothing with it?

STANFLEX is an encapsulation of the range of weapon systems required by the RDN at the time of its' introduction, so - in it's precise form - would not necessarily be applicable to LCS. IIRC I have somewhere a STANFLEX presentation that was specifically produced for a USN LCS industry day or similar.


The two LCS ships have two forms of modularity:


1. The mission bay & hangar can support embarked modules - mostly something around ISO container sizes, generally to support deployable systems such as UxVs. This is effectively what is being done with manned aviation anyway - Merlin uses a mostly modular support infrastructure and IIRC CVF / QEC will do too.


2. Both ships have STANFLEX-esque module bays in the hull & superstructure (I think the monohull only has them in the superstructure). The NETFIRES missiles would have been fitted from one such module, and the 30mm guns are fitted in one.


The big difference between these and STANFLEX, or course, is that the RDN knew what was going to be put in the modules and so could develop a precise physical specification by working out the required envelope. (Albeit with some brilliantly simple modifications e.g. the change from 8 to 6 MK48 silos). Inherent in this is the acceptance that "that's the way it is and that's they way it always will be".


The LCS modular system seems to have been developed in parallel with an initial set of weapons systems and ahead of those that may eventually be carried by the ship, so is a bit more problematic, as it becomes a limiting factor, rather than an interface mechanism.


Regards,


RP1
 
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