Littoral Combat Ships

Discussion in 'Modern' started by comiso90, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    #1 comiso90, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
    [​IMG]
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    Quantity over quality?

    If the USS Cole was built to these standard, would she have survived?
    (Can we really say she "survived"?)

    Dont think so..

    This vessel makes sense as we are increasing our reliance on drones but I wouldnt want to serve on her. I'd like to see other articles that concentrate on the strengths of the ship.


    After years of botched contracts and cost overruns, the Navy has finally signed contracts to buy a bunch of its speedy, near-shore Littoral Combat Ships — at a per-copy price nearly a third cheaper than expected. But hold the Champagne. The cost-cutting that made the LCS so affordable might also doom the ships to watery graves in future conflicts. “We have a warship design that is not expected to fight and survive in the very environment in which it was produced to do so,” one critic at the U.S. Naval Institute blog claims, describing the LCS as “poorly-armed” and “poorly-protected” for dangerous, crowded coastal waters.

    When the LCS deals were announced last week, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus crowed that they would “provide needed ships to our fleet in a timely and extraordinarily cost effective manner.” Instead of picking one shipbuilder, the Navy tapped rival firms Austal and Lockheed Martin to build 10 LCS apiece through 2015, each using their own distinct design. The cost per ship? Just $450 million, at least $200 million below the cost of each of the four prototypes.

    But to get those low, low price, the ships will be built to commercial, rather than military, structural standards — meaning they’re lighter and less blast- and fire-resistant. Indeed, the Navy does not even have plans to subject the LCS to traditional blast-testing, “due to the damage that would be sustained by the ship,” the Congressional Research Service points out.

    The LCS also optimizes speed over weaponry. Lockheed’s version has what Operations Officer Tony Hyde, from USS Freedom (the first Lockheed prototype), described as “the largest marine gas turbines in the world — essentially the engines of a 777 jetliner.” The turbines’ 100,000 horsepower can propel the LCS at up to 50 knots, compared to 30 for most warships. But that high speed “will eat through a fuel supply in half a day,” the USNI critic scoffs.

    Former Freedom commanding officer Don Gabrielson said in 2008 that high speed could help the LCS respond better to pirate attacks and assaults by small boats such as those used by Iran. But an extra 20 knots aren’t likely to make much difference if someone’s shooting supersonic anti-ship missiles at you, whereas extra armor plating just might.

    So is the LCS a tremendous bargain for a cash-strapped Navy, or an underweight death-trap for its crew? The answer could be both, with caveats. Eric Wertheim, an independent naval analyst and author of the authoritative Combat Fleets of the World, tells Danger Room that all shipbuilding plans must take into account “political considerations, economic considerations, military considerations [and] industrial considerations.” In other words, a ship isn’t just a ship. It’s also a jobs program, an industrial subsidy and a number on a treaty document.

    “As much as it seems like a simple decision of which ship is the best, politicians and military leaders are frequently forced to look at long term implications for things like the health of the shipbuilding base,” Wertheim points out. “For example, what would happen if we don’t share work, would one of the shipyards have to close? And is that a good decision in terms of long-range national security?”

    To be sure, locking in 20 ships at just $450 million apiece — compared to around $2 billion for a new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer — will keep two shipyards in business and help the Navy reverse the slow decline of its current 280-strong fleet. This at a time when the Navy is not involved in at-sea combat, and instead spends much of its time chasing pirates and smugglers. For these “other-than-war” tasks, speed and sheer numbers of vessels both matter.

    Also, the Navy already has more than enough high-end, military-grade warships for any potential future showdown with, say, China. This force includes some 90 cruisers, destroyers and soon-to-debut stealth battleships: the most powerful surface fleet in the history of the world, by far, and one that’s massive overkill in anything short of World War III. But after retiring many of its minesweepers, patrol boats and frigates, what the Navy doesn’t have is enough low-end warships for all the mundane work of a busy, globally-deployed military. The LCS can help correct that imbalance.

    Plus, there are emerging technologies that, when combined with the LCS, might revolutionize the way the Navy fights. The LCS includes a huge hangar bay for carrying Marines, manned helicopters, aerial drones and surface-skimming robots. One oceangoing robot on the drawing board — a quiet, sonar-equipped sub-chaser — alone has the potential to deter China’s fast-growing, carrier-threatening submarine fleet. If this bot ever makes it into service aboard the LCS, critics might forget they once hated the cheap, lightweight near-shore warship.


    Navy’s New Warship: Bargain, Death Trap, or Both? | Danger Room | Wired.com

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  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I don't see such a big deal. It's not a blue water ship and it's defensive systems are not identified, so that makes it rather hard to say whether it is capable of fending off anti-ship missiles, let alone some Iranian dipshits in inflatables with shoulder launched rockets.
     
  3. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I believe the armament is going to modular in any case, is it not? Which will allow a level of defence appropriate to the risk. And lets face it, if you're talking about fighting the Chinese Navy, that is what the LCS is NOT for, and why the Navy spent $2 billion a piece on the Arleigh Burkes. OTOH, the only sure defence against another USS Cole incident is the good old-fashioned Mk1 eyeball and M2HB, no matter how many hi-tech systems a ship is packing. Sometimes simple is best...
     
  4. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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  5. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Seems to me that there are a couple of things going on here
    1. the age old battle of protection tech vs weapon tech. knights got bigger and heavier, surface ships got bigger and heavier, tanks got bigger and heavier as the weapons guys made more and more effective weapons.
    2. the age old answer to a systems total failure "that's not in its mission profile"
    Check out today's "light infantrymen
     

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  6. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    That's right. Another reason we keep seesawing between heavy battle tanks to light AVs to 80000lb next generation LAVs; from HMMVs to armoured up Hummers to Cougars/Mastiffs; and so forth and so forth.

    An adaptable military is an effective military. But it does come at a cost. Good post BT. You build the equipment for the mission.

    MW, wish you had a silent one of these in 'Nam?


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

    You make that silent, I see that in the woods coming at me and I'd shite my pants.
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I admit to having mixed views on this vessel.

    Down side
    1) For what we are told she is designed to do she is very large, and expensive.
    If you want something that can stay at sea, tackle pirates, monitor difficult complex environments and be able to defend themselves, there are any number of warships in the 2-3,000 ton class that can do the job. If you want something smaller then the dropped USS Cyclone class would be more than sufficient.
    2) Speed is not and never has been a defence in naval warfare, I do hope the USN are not making the same mistakes as the RN made with WW1 battlecruisers.
    3) I have a concern that there is a tendancy in the Armed Forces (of all nations) of wanting all the toys.
    4) She doesn't seem to be very stealthy. Looking at the two photo's the one being built looks designed for steath, the one at sea isn't.

    Plus side
    1) The triple hull design is robust and can take a lot of damage as the outer hulls tend to protect the main hull.
    2) I am not that concerned about the blast test as these were designed to test the vessel against near misses. These days the missile will either hit or be destroyed, a near miss is less likely.

    Lets not kid ourselves about future conflicts being close to shore. If China has a go at Taiwan that will be an ocean conflict. India is making itself a Blue water navy and should North and South Korea come to blows the navies will operate at sea as far away from the coast as they can. These vessels will need to operate at sea of that I am as certain as I can.
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Sure, new times dictate new weapons but even if these are constructed n the cheap, the are still very expensive.

    "the ships will be built to commercial, rather than military, structural standards — meaning they’re lighter and less blast- and fire-resistant. Indeed, the Navy does not even have plans to subject the LCS to traditional blast-testing, “due to the damage that would be sustained by the ship,” the Congressional Research Service points out."

    Almost seems its better suited for the Coast Guard.

    Call me old fashioned but "Under Armed and Under Armored" are not ways I want to describe a vessel like this... Not saying we need BBs but designed to civilian standards is not reassuring.
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    From what I have read, the aluminum structure is the achilles heal that was specified based upon support by other surface assets. From what I have read the LCS meets the same fireproofing standards, but suffers from the likelihood of major structural integrity concerns from aluminum fires if sufferring from a catastrophic fire. But having said that, we are talking about a water asset that is not intended to combat major weapon systems for its intended operations.

    The ship will carry a BAE Systems Mk110 57mm naval gun with a firing rate of up to 220 rounds/minute, and Mk 295 ammunition that allows the system to perform against aerial, surface or ground threats. The ship will also carry .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine guns, plus defensive systems including automated chaff/flare dispensers and a Raytheon RIM-116 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launcher integrated into an upgraded version of the MK 15 Phalanx gun system’s radar IR sensors.

    The ships will also rely on their onboard MH-60 helicopters and/or RQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter UAVs, plus other robotic vehicles including a variety of Unmanned Underwater Vessels (UUV) and Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV). UUVs currently being tested for use with the LCS include the Bluefin 21 advance surveyor, WLD-1 which tows the AQS-20 mine-hunting sonar, and others. These systems will actually be part of mission modules: integrated packages of weapons, sensors, robotic vehicles, and manned platforms that can be switched in and out depending on the ship’s mission.


    and;

    GMM was the first module of the SUW Mission Package rolled out in July 2008, and consists of an MK44, Mod 2, 30mm automatic chain gun secured in an MK 46 turret. The gun can be fired in single, 5-round bursts and unlimited length bursts. Each GMM has a magazine capacity of more than 800 rounds and fires U.S. Navy 30 X 173mm ammunition. The weapon system is designed to counter small boat threats.

    Are we supposed to be comparing this to a destroyer or guided missile frigate?
     
  10. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    If I have understood the talk around these ships correctly, they are intended for low-intensity ops where the enemy isn't going to be using anything much bigger than the gun on the LCS. Pirates are going to pack small arms, HMGs and possibly RPGs. None of these are going to take out an LCS in one shot. OTOH, a 57mm gun throwing 200+ rpm and a 30mm chaingun are going to ruin just about anything the pirates can get to sea in. It's the old trick of overwhelming force at the point of contact.

    Like I said, these things aren't going to be put in front of a foe with SSM's, cruise missiles and the like. You have AEGIS DDGs and CGs for that, plus the new large stealth vessels which will probably end up carrying the BB hull symbol. Not to mention SSNs and CVN battlegroups.

    People are talking as if the LCS needs to be able to survive an Exocet hit. Truth is, by the time you're playing against a guy with that kind of weaponry, the Arleigh Burke's should be in there showering him with Harpoons and the LCS should be far away hunting drug runners. The parallel Glider draws between the BC and the LCS is very interesting. BCs were not meant to face anything larger than an AC. Once they started fighting other BCs and BBs, they were doomed because they were not intended or equipped to face that kind of foe. The USN must learn that lesson and apply it to the LCS. Speed isn't a defence, but knowing your enemy and making sure you only fight when he is weaker than you is the very best defence.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    And there lies the problem. The USN seem to want it to do everything including minesweeping traditionally a weak spot in the USN.
    They are big expensive and a maid of all work. I simply do not believe that these vessels would be kept out of harms way
     
  12. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Matt, Initial agreement, the shock value of that thing would be high. BUT again, in my opinion knocking it out should be pretty simple, one leg and it is down. there has always been interest in "walking" vehicles but that's like saying a flying vehicle has to "flap" its wings to fly. The VC moved tons of supplies with porters and bikes.
    Bombtaxi- go back to my post, read #2. The enemy does not play by rules. The military loves Al armor because it is cheap and light. It can be tempered to a decent hardness but it is still Aluminum a very reactive metal. ever seen an APC hit by an RPG?
    I, for one, would not want to be a marine stuffed in one of these going into a hostile beach
     
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