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Littoral Combat Ship - Freedom/Independence

fredymac

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LCS 20 Cincinnati keel laying: http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Media/News/Article/1152223/navy-lays-keel-of-future-uss-cincinnati-lcs-20/

Today that means all the prefabricated modules get joined so the ship is already more than 50% done. Only a few more LCS units to go (with modules already in construction) to complete the series built to the original design. At this point, I really wonder if critics think the 20 ships already either in the water or nearly ready should be scrapped despite what the crews and Navy leadership think.

If I try to imagine naval warfare in the future, an ROV-centric architecture seems like a good bet. A platform with some degree of stealth to lend itself towards special operations support and relatively small size and draft to slip in and out of shallow water would make it even more useful. On the other hand, a battle frigate loaded for surface and anti air warfare sensors and weapons will be very mission specific with no room for much else. At some level of size however, I wonder if there is ever enough armor to keep a small ship in the fight after taking a bomb or missile.
 

pathology_doc

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fredymac said:
At some level of size however, I wonder if there is ever enough armor to keep a small ship in the fight after taking a bomb or missile.
Some WW2 destroyers managed to take horrific amounts of damage and still get home, and they were to all intents and purposes unarmoured. But WW2 ships had far fewer and smaller mission-critical spaces and many more hands to act as damage control parties, and while I am neither a naval architect nor a damage control expert, I suspect the damage profile wrought by anti-ship missiles is sufficiently different from that wrought by torpedoes or bombs as to constitute a game-changer.
 

bobbymike

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http://breakingdefense.com/2017/04/lcs-frigate-delay-a-year-to-study-bigger-missiles/
 

fredymac

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Details on the Hellfire missile used for LCS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxBvvNzFeSE
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Boeing_cancels_Harpoon_contract_999.html
 

Moose

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Lockheed also seems to be threatening a drop the LRASM from the competition, leaving Raytheon/Kongsberg the only competitor with NSM/JSM.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
Lockheed also seems to be threatening a drop the LRASM from the competition, leaving Raytheon/Kongsberg the only competitor with NSM/JSM.
Where did you hear that and why would they do that? ???
 

Moose

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sferrin said:
Moose said:
Lockheed also seems to be threatening a drop the LRASM from the competition, leaving Raytheon/Kongsberg the only competitor with NSM/JSM.
Where did you hear that and why would they do that? ???
Inside Defense touched on it a couple days ago, heard the same from some people who would know. The reasoning is pretty much the same as Boeing: The Navy is pulling back some of the features they previously wanted on the OTH missile system in order to drive costs down. Combined with the uncertain LCS/FF future, it's making bith companies wary of putting more of their skin in the game.
 

fredymac

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Boeing_cancels_Harpoon_contract_999.html
This is strange. From the article:
"The proposed upgrade from the current Harpoon Block II would have extended its range to 150 miles, along with providing a new, more powerful warhead.

Rutherford told Defense News, however, that each version of the Navy's request for proposals included decreases or changes to top-level requirements for the missile. To meet the requirements, he said, the company "would have to take a lot of capability out of this existing system and really deliver a less-capable weapons system."

Adding the expense of engineering changes which increases production costs in order to reduce performance sounds like some bureaucrats roundabout way of saying get lost.
 

marauder2048

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Bizarrely, the Navy's RFP for an over-the-horizon weapons system does not include
(and which has been repeatedly affirmed in clarifications) a requirement for a datalink.

So an offeror that has a two-way datalink now has to scrub that feature
which in turn violates the RFP's requirement that the weapons system be non-developmental.
 

Moose

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No, that's not how it works. The Navy won't make anyone pull the datalink or reduce the missile's range, not unless the people who've come in since January are completely insane anyway. But the Navy also won't give any credit for those features either, which means they're adding to the unit cost of the weapons without improving the performance as relates to the competition. So to be competitive, the company needs to design and field a version that is less expensive by deleting things like the datalink. But that costs them money, and it gets worse if the performance targets keep moving around. If they try to put that money in their bid, they're still not competitive, so they have to eat it instead. And they're hesitant to do that if they're looking at a shaky program.

The bit about the increased range variant is marketing and lobbying in one. Boeing's trying to sell the more-capable Harpoon and wants the OTH missile program or something like it to pay for it. They want the requirements bumped up.
 

marauder2048

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Moose said:
No, that's not how it works. The Navy won't make anyone pull the datalink or reduce the missile's range.

I'm not sure where you got the notion that the Navy would force a feature's deletion but it naturally follows from the RFP.

A datalink is not a requirement hence the Navy will not credit it which means
a rational offeror has to scrub it from their bid which in turn results in a missile variant that is developmental
(e.g. both Harpoon 2+ (ER) and LRASM have datalinks in production form).

This in turn requires the offeror to develop and demonstrate (on their dime and to the Navy's satisfaction)
a new variant which is production ready i.e. non-developmental again per the RFP.
 

TomS

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marauder2048 said:
Bizarrely, the Navy's RFP for an over-the-horizon weapons system does not include
(and which has been repeatedly affirmed in clarifications) a requirement for a datalink.

So an offeror that has a two-way datalink now has to scrub that feature
which in turn violates the RFP's requirement that the weapons system be non-developmental.
It's almost as though the Navy has a preferred solution that lacks a datalink.

(Hint: NSM does not currently have a datalink.)
 

bobbymike

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http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20170615-Frigate.html
 

fredymac

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This is interesting just for the sound track. I was almost expecting the ship to tilt vertical and blast off into the sky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnz1lBaR1fU
 

Triton

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Published on Jul 21, 2017

Tour aboard USS Coronado, Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship LCS-4 of the US Navy during IMDEX 2017. Currently on its maiden deployment, Coronado is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region's littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future. Coronado is the second LCS of the Independence variant built by Austal USA and is homeported in San Diego.

https://youtu.be/Vt6b6kG0ExU
 

Triton

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I wonder if Lockheed or Austal could manufacture the Global Combat Ship Commonwealth?

https://youtu.be/sl89hsSje3E
 

Moose

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bring_it_on said:
Should probably take a moment to celebrate the EASR program's very solid progress and smart management. It started just 2 years ago as a scratch effort to replace the costly DBR (especially the SPY-4 half) on the CVNs with something more manageable and has gone on to spawn a second variant allowing it to appear on carriers, frigates, amphibs, and maybe more beyond. But since it's a well-run program and it's using building blocks which are the same RMAs as SPY-6(V), there's been no crazy cost spiral nor scandalous delays. That's two huge, related radar programs which the Navy and Raytheon are so far just about acing, no mean feat.
 

Moose

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Triton said:
I wonder if Lockheed or Austal could manufacture the Global Combat Ship Commonwealth?

https://youtu.be/sl89hsSje3E
Neither currently has a yard capable to do it. Lockheed has the resources to buy (or even build) a shipyard capable of doing it. I doubt Austal could do the same though a merger or partnership is not outside the realm of possibility. BAE has ship repair facilities in the US which could be expanded into construction, since it's their design they might have the inside track to do so. But honestly if we're going to treat FFG(X) as a serious combatant, the yards with the most experience building serious combatants shouldn't be discounted.
 

Triton

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Moose said:
Neither currently has a yard capable to do it. Lockheed has the resources to buy (or even build) a shipyard capable of doing it. I doubt Austal could do the same though a merger or partnership is not outside the realm of possibility. BAE has ship repair facilities in the US which could be expanded into construction, since it's their design they might have the inside track to do so. But honestly if we're going to treat FFG(X) as a serious combatant, the yards with the most experience building serious combatants shouldn't be discounted.
I remember reading that some of the push back for a new FFG(X) was the loss of jobs at Austal USA Shipyards in Mobile, Alabama and Marinette Marine in Marinette, WI. I thought that this was the primary driver for converting the Freedom Class and the Independence Class from LCS to FF/FFG. So I was wondering if this off-the-shelf design could save jobs in Mobile and Marinette. I didn't believe it was likely that Huntington Ingalls would license the National Security Cutter design to other shipyards and that such an FFG(X) would be built in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
 

bring_it_on

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Moose said:
bring_it_on said:
Should probably take a moment to celebrate the EASR program's very solid progress and smart management. It started just 2 years ago as a scratch effort to replace the costly DBR (especially the SPY-4 half) on the CVNs with something more manageable and has gone on to spawn a second variant allowing it to appear on carriers, frigates, amphibs, and maybe more beyond. But since it's a well-run program and it's using building blocks which are the same RMAs as SPY-6(V), there's been no crazy cost spiral nor scandalous delays. That's two huge, related radar programs which the Navy and Raytheon are so far just about acing, no mean feat.
I'm still wondering why we don't have a 9 or more RMA EASR for ground based application. Would have been quite suitable imho for the 3DELRR mission. Perhaps it could be looked at for the AN/TPS-59 replacement if the USMC decides not to simply buy the 3DELRR for it.
 

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marauder2048

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Moose said:
Should probably take a moment to celebrate the EASR program's very solid progress and smart management. It started just 2 years ago as a scratch effort to replace the costly DBR (especially the SPY-4 half) on the CVNs with something more manageable
Not trying to be a joykill but:

It's less capable, less flexible and less extensible than DBR; they have to design and procure an EASR-X which may or may not be retrofitted a al AMDR-X.
 

bring_it_on

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Agreed but an EASR-X, based on the eventual down selected AMDR-X could bring in the volume to be pushed across multiple ship classes.
 

Moose

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marauder2048 said:
Moose said:
Should probably take a moment to celebrate the EASR program's very solid progress and smart management. It started just 2 years ago as a scratch effort to replace the costly DBR (especially the SPY-4 half) on the CVNs with something more manageable
Not trying to be a joykill but:

It's less capable, less flexible and less extensible than DBR; they have to design and procure an EASR-X which may or may not be retrofitted a al AMDR-X.
Well as CAPT Tal Manvel pointed out in his carrier talks, the extra capability of the DBR's VSR is of questionable utility to a CVN compared to the extra cost and complexity of putting it on the platform. American carriers do, after all, depend much more on offboard sensors (Hawkeye) if they're doing their job right. The 9-RMA configuration is supposed to have resolution equal to the current-production SPY-1D(V) in a more compact active instead of passive array, so whatever the comparison to SPY-4 performance....it's not useless.

I'm going to sharply disagree with you on flexibility and extesnibility, however. DBR's VSR, SPY-4, is single-configuration radar which was already pulled from one class for cost and integration issues, and then a similar architecture was soundly defeated by Raytheon's GaN tech in the AMDR competition. Raytheon has (wisely) designed their architecture to be highly adaptable and scale-able. SPY-4 (and DBR overall) would be a very tough, expensive sale for amphibious ships and LCS-sized Frigtaes.

As for AMDR-X/EASR-X, it's entirely possible we don't get a new radar for some time after SPY-6 and EASR-S are stable. Solutions like SPQ-9B and SPY-3 MFR may have to soldier on for some time. But the success of these two linked programs certainly makes it easier to make decisions about what to do with space than if they were struggling.
 

marauder2048

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Moose said:
Well as CAPT Tal Manvel pointed out in his carrier talks, the extra capability of the DBR's VSR is of questionable utility to a CVN compared to the extra cost and complexity of putting it on the platform. American carriers do, after all, depend much more on offboard sensors (Hawkeye) if they're doing their job right.
With all due respect, this is really just ex post facto justification by the Navy and is contradicted by the
enormous effort (via CEC and SSDS) put into improving carrier self-defense capability
particularly against high-diving (VSR) and sea-skimming threats (MFR). The Ford's radar layout on the
island was in-fact informed by these efforts.

VSR was not intended to be single configuration either and was supposed to be the SPS-43/48/49 replacement/retrofit.
Flexibility-wise it's very hard to argue with dual-band even just for things like meteorological resiliency
and missile data links.

And it's the deletion of the MFRs from the Ford class that is most troubling especially since you'll have lots of
at-sea track data coming back from the Zumwalts long before still the notional AMDR-X and EASR-X
(or even AMDR-S for that matter) are in a similar position.

Having said all of that: EASR-S is a major improvement over the current LCS radars even if
just from a data rights/growth perspective.

On a related matter, I am curious if the active SM-2 will have the same anti-surface modes
being incorporated into SM-6.
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnDS_luRl8U
 

jsport

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bobbymike said:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnDS_luRl8U
How about the next LCS and Frigate needs to be destroyer. :)
 

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LCS 4 conducts Harpoon firing against over-the-horizon target using MQ-8B and MH-60S for spotting.

USS Coronado Hits Target With Lethal, Harpoon Missile During Training Near Guam
http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=102054
"The Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) conducted a successful live-fire of the harpoon block 1C missile off the coast of Guam Aug 22, striking a surface target at significant distance beyond the ship's visual range."
 

fredymac

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Guided tour of LCS 6 Jackson. Some discussion of ship navigation at the very end which makes it hard to figure out how a collision can take place without a lot of human error.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtqoiDi3yrM
 

bobbymike

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https://breakingdefense.com/2017/11/frigate-rfp-pioneers-new-shipbuilding-approach/
 

fredymac

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Mine hunting UUV for LCS. Discussion talks about when UUVs will take off to match the growth in UAVs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT8sN0m2wYw
 

bobbymike

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/01/lcs-grows-teeth-at-last/
 

bobbymike

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http://www.janes.com/article/77041/ssmm-module-set-for-lcs-testing
 

fredymac

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Saudi version of Freedom class LCS plus more on minehunting UUV's. Last segment covers the Rheinmetall 35mm gun and discusses the difficulty in trying to break into existing "program of record" bureaucracy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyGWALqBtrg
 

fredymac

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Freedom Class derivative approved for sale to Saudi Arabia.

"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $11.25 billion."

http://www.dmitryshulgin.com/author/wagner666/
 

fredymac

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Guided 57mm round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY9rJBL1S2Y
 

fredymac

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CUSV from Textron. This USV is slated for LCS MCM duty.

"CUSV was created in 2009 and was selected in October 2014 to carry the Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System for the Littoral Combat Ship’s mine countermeasures mission (MCM) package"
https://news.usni.org/2016/01/27/textrons-cusv-in-production-as-minesweeping-vehicle-may-take-on-minehunting-soon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHIGWRJHXt8

This other video includes a brief clip of a different trimaran design from Austal USA for SOF applications. The clip is at the end of the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSrHafYx8Ac
 

TomS

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fredymac said:
Guided 57mm round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY9rJBL1S2Y
Really interesting video. I'm trying to figure out what it's doing in the short clip around 1:00. That's obviously the steering mechanism, but are those big blobs at the top clouds of gas or actual solid material kicked out to divert the round?
 
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