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USN Large Surface Combatant - Delayed

sferrin

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https://news.usni.org/2019/03/13/large-surface-combatant-program-delayed-amid-pivot-towards-unmanned-other-emerging-tech
 

sferrin

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Couldn't have said it better myself.
 

Moose

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The messaging surrounding LSC for the past couple years has been bordering on absurd. Putting aside the "don't call it a cruiser, or destroyer, or anything" game:
First, they talked as if they had just started studying a new large combatant without elaborating on whether the existing work from previous years had been discarded or the goals had simply shifted. Then they began referencing the Frigate program and implying they needed to use an exiting hull to contain costs, which led to the obvious conclusion that only the DDG-1000 and LPD-17 hulls are practical "existing" options for a larger combatant hull. Then we got a backtrack, without much in the way of public discussion, to a new plan where instead LSC would be a new hull but the combat system+ from Burke Flight III would be carried over to contain costs and accelerate development. Meanwhile, in a wider context, they started making allusions to a dramatic shakeup of fleet balance and a new high/low mix. And despite all uncertainty and lack of clarity, they wanted to start buying them in 2023. Now, even that aspiration is gone, and Richardson even has the gall to say "we have to prove we need a LSC." But the Cruisers and early-program DDGs continue to age.

What a bleeping mess.
 

fredymac

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Network control and ROV technology has reached a level where it is realistically feasible to reconsider basic naval architecture. If you can offload weapons onto ROVs and disburse them while maintaining tight, realtime control, then what are the remaining requirements of a combatant ship?

The Littoral Combat Ship is the first attempt at this concept and has suffered the consequences for it. Still, ROV maturity keeps improving and modest projections of future capability raise the specter of a step change in naval warfare. The problem is the transition period where traditional architecture remains superior but you want to avoid developing expensive new platforms with potentially fast obsolescence.

In the meantime, less fishing more bait cutting and no clear answers.

From The Article:
Asked about this apparent delay in the new ship’s start, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told USNI News that the requirement for the ship is being revisited in light of the new focus on future operating concepts that emphasize distributed, lethal – and in many cases unmanned – platforms equipped with weapons still in development.

“I’ve got to tell you, given the discussion that’s happened already, first question that we have to do is prove to ourselves that we need a large surface combatant. What is the unique contribution of something like that in the face of all these emerging technologies?” Richardson said while speaking to reporters after a speech at the annual McAleese Defense Programs event.
 

Foo Fighter

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What bothers me is this;- "those priorities are paid for by canceling the refueling of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), which was set to begin its mid-life overhaul in 2025. In a further nod to the fluidity of the Navy’s understanding of what a future fight looks like and therefore what gear it needs, Richardson said the Navy had to weigh another 25 years of life for a Nimitz-class carrier against “requirements which are being studied”.

Considering they are trying to increase the number of carriers it hardly makes sense. It also makes little sense in light of the huge cost to acquire the ship. Madness? Perhaps.
 

Hood

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I agree, the decision not to refuel USS Harry S. Truman doesn't seem to make a lot of sense given the ship will only be 25 years old in 2024 and should have plenty of life left. I suppose if she were mothballed she could be reactivated again if numbers became a concern, but given the costs and construction time to build a new carrier, it would seem to be a no-brainer to keep the refit as a relatively economical way to preserve the carrier fleet.
I can't honestly see the USN suddenly finding future requirements for 2030 onwards that won't include carrier airpower.

As to the LSC, if feels like deja vu. The emphasis on emerging technologies that might be the next hottest thing the Pentagon wants to play with is getting the USN nowhere. DD(X) was meant to be the future, based on all the technical goodies the USN wanted. It built three and decided it wasn't what it wanted after all. LCS was much the same, what they thought they wanted at the time is now not what they want. What's to the say the decisions on LSC will be the right ones and whether after building a couple they won't change their mind and go for the next 'big thing'.

A concept like a smaller frigate sized command ship shepherding a flotilla of USVs (something like Sea Hunter with a couple of Mk 48 VLS) might look good on a Powerpoint but its hard to translate that step change in thinking into hardware when other nations are building classical all-in-one naval ships. Its a leap of faith to believe that a flotilla of ships can be controlled and integrated like a fighter with loyal wingmen supported by airborne and satellite C3 assets, especially when these concepts have yet to be translated into a workable operational system for aviation, let alone ships.
 

sferrin

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Hood said:
The emphasis on emerging technologies that might be the next hottest thing the Pentagon wants to play with is getting the USN nowhere. DD(X) was meant to be the future, based on all the technical goodies the USN wanted.
They don't exactly have the best track record there. They ditched the X-47B like it had ebola and every day it's more obvious that was a bad decision.

https://news.usni.org/2019/03/05/report-u-s-carriers-need-new-lethal-unmanned-aircraft-new-fighter-to-stay-relevant

The Zumwalt hull would be the perfect base for a cruiser replacement. It's got the space, the power, a large flight deck, bigger cells, etc. etc. etc. Unless there is something fundamentally wrong with the design of the hull itself, leaving the class to rot has got to be THE stupidest thing the USN has done in recent memory. (And that's saying something.)
 

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Starve before doing business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell they want and will drive you up a wall before they break either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy.
-- Clarence L. Johnson
 

Foo Fighter

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Question, how will these smaller hulls manage open water sea states? Will they be as usable as the ddg1000's? I get the feeling they will not.
 

fredymac

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The question for those in the decision making process is whether this is 1939 again and you are reviewing the build plans for the Yamato. I haven't heard of any fleet exercise tests similar to the ones that forewarned the switch to carriers but I assume they run simulations on these things.

The LCS ROV situation has quietly progressed and may be influencing this new found uncertainty. Of course they don't bother showing any background slides on those "future operating concepts" (and specifically those showing newly developed ROVs being demonstrated). Delay is a decision itself so they aren't doing themselves any favors without providing more convincing information.
 

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I do not understand this thinking at all. Even if you have a lot of small unmanned ships with a few dozen VLS cells each the fact needs you'll need some big ships with a lot of power for the radar arrays and the Navy has previously indicated they want a larger array than what will fit on even a Flight III Burke. That big ship ought to have the speed to keep up with the CVN's other escorts and weaponry suited for its size. In other words what they should be looking for is a cruiser.

Let the unmanned ships support it, besides chances are things will still break on those unmanned ships on occasion and will need men to go over and fix them.
 

sferrin

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Absolutely brilliant:

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/03/18/once-again-the-us-navy-looks-to-scrap-its-largest-combatants-to-save-money/

They're going to delay the cruiser replacement AND they want to retire six cruisers early. Not enough face palms for this. And then there's this:


"The Navy has announced that it plans to buy a replacement large surface combatant, but recently delayed the first buy from 2023 to 2025, according to a report from USNI News.

The Navy’s top officer told reporters in a roundtable March 14 that the service was working through the requirements process.

“We’re early in the discussion of requirements on the large surface combatant. I’ve got to tell you, given kind of the discussion that’s happened already, the first question that we have to do is prove to ourselves that we need a large surface combatant,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson."


I don't have words.
 

Foo Fighter

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Oh well, one day their boat will come in. Problem is by then it will be the entire navy and the two boy scouts rowing it had better be in possession of a permission slip from both parents so they can share the Swiss Army knife.
 

DrRansom

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fredymac said:
The question for those in the decision making process is whether this is 1939 again and you are reviewing the build plans for the Yamato. I haven't heard of any fleet exercise tests similar to the ones that forewarned the switch to carriers but I assume they run simulations on these things.

I think that this is the major question. Based on the recent Breaking Defense article about wargames, something about the recent precision combat wargames has put the fear of God into all branches of the military. I half wonder if they find that their major ships have unacceptably short life-spans in a major conflict. In which case, they would represent a major resource sink without the corresponding military effectiveness.

Retiring the old Ticonderoga cruisers fits into that mold. Maybe they're too expensive to run and not effective enough when missiles start flying.
 

marauder2048

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I've played more realistic games of Battletech than what recently passes for wargaming at RAND.
 

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sferrin

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DrRansom said:
fredymac said:
The question for those in the decision making process is whether this is 1939 again and you are reviewing the build plans for the Yamato. I haven't heard of any fleet exercise tests similar to the ones that forewarned the switch to carriers but I assume they run simulations on these things.

I think that this is the major question. Based on the recent Breaking Defense article about wargames, something about the recent precision combat wargames has put the fear of God into all branches of the military. I half wonder if they find that their major ships have unacceptably short life-spans in a major conflict. In which case, they would represent a major resource sink without the corresponding military effectiveness.

Retiring the old Ticonderoga cruisers fits into that mold. Maybe they're too expensive to run and not effective enough when missiles start flying.
China doesn't seem to share that opinion. They now have 4 Type 055s in the water with more building.
 

DrRansom

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marauder2048 said:
I've played more realistic games of Battletech than what recently passes for wargaming at RAND.
If you play CMANO, it is probably more accurate than RAND simulations in detail. That being said, we don't have proof that the RAND simulation is bad.

sferrin said:
China doesn't seem to share that opinion. They now have 4 Type 055s in the water with more building.
That's the interesting question, we see opposite responses to probably the same analysis. Though the Chinese can build ships much faster and cheaper than the US..
 

marauder2048

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DrRansom said:
marauder2048 said:
I've played more realistic games of Battletech than what recently passes for wargaming at RAND.
That being said, we don't have proof that the RAND simulation is bad.
If it were any good they would have fully documented it as they claimed they would. That was three years ago.


From the MAMDJF AOA that was done for the most stressing ballistic missile and ASCM
environment for the 2024 - 2030 period, a SPY + 30dB or greater radar is a requirement.

You can either get that from a monostatic arrangement which requires a very large array
which will largely dictate a good deal of the configuration of the ship.

Or

You pursue a distributed radar approach where, to grossly simplify, a group of
networked surface combatants coordinate their pulse transmissions such that the
pulses combine constructively at the target.

Either you pay for the former (it can be reasonably bounded since the technologies are mature)
or you risk the latter.
 

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Considering what we invest in 90,000 ton nuclear powered carriers I don't think a large cruiser, perhaps even 20,000 tons, should generate the amount of consternation it seems to within the DoD.

Maybe even if them nuclear powered too like the the handful of the CGNs we had during the Cold War.

They'll still be plenty of room for emerging classes of USVs and ships to support the operation of those.
 

bring_it_on

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Colonial-Marine said:
Considering what we invest in 90,000 ton nuclear powered carriers I don't think a large cruiser, perhaps even 20,000 tons, should generate the amount of consternation it seems to within the DoD.

Maybe even if them nuclear powered too like the the handful of the CGNs we had during the Cold War.

They'll still be plenty of room for emerging classes of USVs and ships to support the operation of those.
I don't think it will generate that but in the end you have to fund it and make it fit in future budgets at a time you are also going to be building FFGXs, DDG-51 IIIs, and buying or developing Columbia class submarines while trying to squeeze out more SSNs because the Navy is far from meeting its attack submarine needs. while also somehow trying to transform the naval aviation elements to 5th and 6th generation I wouldn't mind the push from late FY23 to FY25 as long as they present a plan and schedule with a clear idea of how they'll fund the class and fit it into all the other priorities they have. It would be highly dissapointing to see a future cruiser turn into the Navy's next gen fighter platform where the rhetoric (CNO - field NGF by 2030) is inconsistent with the reality (abysmal funding over the FYDP)...

The Navy plans on buying 61 LSCs between 2025 and 2050 so its not that they don't think they need these vessels. I guess one of the motivations to push it down to FY25 may have been because that would have reduced or eliminated the overlap with Flight IIIs thereby freeing up money..

 

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Foo Fighter

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Thanks for that post, it clarifies things nicely. I agree with your points but we the public will never be informed to that level, we are just not a priority, whether that is the correct approach I cannot say.
 

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I would like to see those 155s get replaced with 127 mm on the zumwalts for now until they can come up with a solution. There not much fire power on there as for self defense and I don’t think those 30 mm could hold up against a real attack
 

Capthale

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And where is the searam not enough defensive weapons
 

sferrin

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I would like to see those 155s get replaced with 127 mm on the zumwalts for now until they can come up with a solution. There not much fire power on there as for self defense and I don’t think those 30 mm could hold up against a real attack

Yeah, let's just flush those 155s down the toilet. /sarc :rolleyes:
 

SpudmanWP

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What idiot decided to not make them compatible with NATO standard 155mm rounds?
 

TomS

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The same person who decided it should be a trainable rocket launcher with a range of 100 miles. It's not compatible with NATO 155 because the LRLAP round has to be much longer than any NATO-standard round and it's pretty much impossible to accommodate both in the same gun.
 

Capthale

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If they don’t work yes going on 10 years yes down the drink they go
 

Capthale

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Shore bombardment is a think of the past load the deck with mlrs
 

Capthale

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127 mm is very effective against surface and shore targets
 

Capthale

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Put something g on there that works then replace with a weapon system that is more effective and I’m not talking about the rail gun either that’s a joke
 

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The same person who decided it should be a trainable rocket launcher with a range of 100 miles. It's not compatible with NATO 155 because the LRLAP round has to be much longer than any NATO-standard round and it's pretty much impossible to accommodate both in the same gun.
The question I have is why don't we just start with some simple "dumb" ammunition made for a normal ballistic trajectory? Of course the limited production would still make it somewhat expensive compared to standard NATO 155mm but it ought to still be much cheaper than the LRLAP.

Range wouldn't be near the 100km or whatever LRLAP was supposed to achieve but it should be able to reach quite a bit further than a typical NATO 155mm gun.

Hindsight is 20/20 but it seems like we would have been better off resurrecting the 8" MCLWG. Although it would face the same problem of only a grand total of six guns at sea to make parts and shells for. That underlying issue seems to present something of a roadblock no matter what new gun you use.
 

Capthale

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Ya your right they could do a naval version if the Excalibur’s extended range but might have to do a total remodel with barrels and chambering system but what the heck they have wasted far more money on other weapons programs
 

sferrin

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Ya your right they could do a naval version if the Excalibur’s extended range but might have to do a total remodel with barrels and chambering system but what the heck they have wasted far more money on other weapons programs
Or. . .they could bite the bullet and finish developing the AGS chain as it will be a better option than the Mk45 going forward.
 

Capthale

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I don’t disagree with you but to have them Sailing around without their main battery working it is a shame
 

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More from the I Told You So Department, Office of Wasted Opportunities


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Navy’s next large surface combatant will probably look more like the futuristic Zumwalt class of guided-missile destroyers than fleet’s current workhorse class of Arleigh Burke destroyers, the program executive officer said.

Navy and industry designers are talking about increased payloads, increased computing and increased design flexibility when considering the possible capabilities of the fleet’s next large surface combatant, Rear Adm. William Galinis, the Navy’s program executive officer for ships, said during the American Society of Naval Engineering’s annual Technology, Systems & Ship symposium on Tuesday. Designers also have to consider that the Navy now plans to operate in an increasingly contested environment, which means taking into account how adversaries will see the new ship class on radars.

“The signature aspect of it, what does that do to the shaping of deckhouse hull form. I will tell you, not to predispose anything, but I think in the end, you know, it’s probably going to look a lot more like a DDG-1000 than a DDG-51 if I had to say so,” Galinis said. “But there’s still a lot of work to kind of go do in that area.”

Galinis was speaking during the opening keynote address at the 2019 TSS conference. Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, the Navy’s chief engineer and deputy commander for ship design at Naval Sea Systems Command, joined Galinis during the keynote.

The Navy had planned to buy the first of its new class of large surface combatant in 2023, but Galinis said the Navy has since pushed back the start date. USNI News first reported the Navy now is looking at awarding a contract in Fiscal Year 2025. The current Arleigh Burke-class multi-year contract expires in 2022.

By pushing back the production timeline, Galinis said the Navy can refine its requirements now and incorporate feedback from industry and current programs to help improve the ship design and control costs.
 
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