Sunday, November 18, 2012

LCS - What Would You Do With It?

As ComNavOps was reading and replying to comments, he couldn't help but notice that some topics generate a lot of interest and some less so.  Not surprisingly, the LCS is one that generates a lot of interest.  Everyone has an opinion - most of them tending to the negative. 

Well, for better or worse the LCS is here and will almost certainly be built through the current contract options, resulting in a buy of 22 ships, half of each version.  The obvious question, then, is what to do with them given that they will have fairly limited capabilities for the foreseeable future.  This is your chance to tell me and the Navy what should be done with the LCS.  Just to save time, let's eliminate the "terminate it" answer.  As I said, the LCS is here and the Navy has to do something with it and it would be nice if we could actually get some level of use out of it.  Let's also eliminate the total, and generally unrealistic, rebuilds.  In other words, no 16" gun turrets with a squadron of JSF jump jets.  So, realistically, what can be done with the LCS? 

To help you out, here a few factors that any realistic alterations must take into account.

  • LCS-1 class has severe weight issues.  There are no margins for growth.  If you want to add a 5" gun, you have to remove something of equal weight.  That goes for anything you want to add - it's a zero sum game.
  • LCS-2 class has limited volume forward.  Authoritative reports state that a 5" gun almost certainly can't be placed forward.  The same probably goes for a VLS, plus that's a lot of weight forward.
  • Neither class has the berthing, mess, food storage, heads, etc. to support much of an increase in crew.  So, before you start listing ninety eight new weapons you want to add, consider the impact on crew size and the limited support for crew.
  • Neither class has a particularly strong flight deck.  In other words, two helos is the limit due to structural weight limitations.

This is your chance.  Pretend you're the Navy and you've got to do something with the LCS.  What do you realistically suggest?

44 comments:

  1. Like I have said elsewhere, UpGun.

    1. Lets start in the front. If you want a 76mm gun, then move the gun back to the Netfires bay and put the Netfires forward in a rectangle bay instead of a square. Advances in laser-guided medium caliber shells will make the cannon fire very accurate.

    2. Forget Griffin and put in Spike NLOS in the Netfires bay. 25+ km and IIR Command guidance

    3. Remove the slow firing 30mm cannons and put in armored Hellfire mounts with both Hellfires and LOGIR/APKWS type rockets as needed.

    4. Place a 35mm Millennium gun on either side of the SeaRAM. This mount does not require any through-deck penetration, so no hanger space is lost. Extra ammo can be stored in the upper corner edges of the hanger and auto-fed to the gun. The gun served three purposes (secondary gun, secondary CIWS, and anti-torpedo thanks to advances in super cavitating ammo).

    5. Remove manned 50 cals and replace with mk51 MAWS remote turrets. The weapons on the remote station can be everything from a 7.62 mg to a 30mm cannon from the Apache. btw, they are developing laser guided 30mm rounds. Non-Lethal add-ons are also an option for the mk51.

    6. My original thought was to adapt the F-35's EODAS to naval use. Turns out Northrup Grumman was thinking the same thing. This will allow for 360, 24/7 Situational Awareness and quicker targeting.

    These just cover the basic loadout. These options leave the space open for the heavier upgrades that GD though of for the International Variant (16 mk41 VLS and 8x Harpoon).

    My plan should not impact the crew loadout and actually lessens the need a little (remote stations instead of manned 50 cals). If properly integrated, the weapons can be employed using the existing fire control system.

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    1. This is a nice conceptual design for future LCSs. The only drawback is that much of what you're describing does not currently exist in a ready to go naval package. The Spike NLOS, for example, appears to be a land based weapon and would have to be navalized. Are you aware of a vertical launch box launcher for the forward space that can handle the Spike? If so, how many missiles can it hold? What guidance mode would you envision Spike using?

      The EODAS is a nice concept but has not been put into practice, as far as I know, and would require extensive development. It would need to be integrated into the combat direction suite - no easy task! Heck, they've been working on SSDS for several years and still haven't got it.

      As I understand it, the Navy evaluated the Mk51 and dropped it in favor of the Mk38 Mod 2. Is there a reason you like the Mk51 over the Mk38?

      The Millenium gun is a good choice other than it isn't a standard Navy gun and would have to be integrated into the combat direction suite and would require additional support trains which the Navy would be unlikely to do.

      All in all, your concept is nice but probably not feasible in the near future. If the Navy opts to continue buying past the 22 ship point, it would certainly be worth consideration. The EODAS is intriguing. Thanks!

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    2. Spike NLOS is a containerized system so "navalizing" it would be a no issue. The linked PDF says as much "The Spike NLOS can be installed on a variety of air, land and naval platforms providing maximum operational flexibility with low life-cycle cost."

      Development of the EODAS (and by default the naval version Silent Watch) is essentially done. Integration is the only hurdle and NG has been working on that for three years. Here is what the linked NG page has to say "Northrop Grumman has a high TRL solution to contribute now, based on three years of R&D on the surface platform Silent Watch EO/DAS variant and significant JSF research investment in algorithm exploitation. There is a scalable in-production hardware base for USVs to Carriers. Demonstrations have been conducted on the Spirit of Norfolk, unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Northrop Grumman research aircraft.

      EO DAS was rapidly integrated with the Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) and Integrated Bridge System (IBS). ICMS is a combat systems suite for a variant of the Littoral Combat Ship; the IBS is a bridge equipment integration solution employed across the Surface Warfare Enterprise. "

      That is "was", as in already happened.

      I chose the Mk51 for weight savings but the Mk38 can be used. The Mk38 is for large, full size cannons (25mm and up) and weighs at least a ton each. I was looking for more of a CROWS type remote station.

      Since the existing 30mm cannon is no longer part of the AFV program, the Millennium Gun being new is no longer an issue. Besides, it has a larger worldwide user-base, is more versatile, weighs less, and is more effective than the existing 30mm.

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    3. I think you may be underestimating the difficulty in navalizing weapons, even containerized ones. Your source suggests that Spike NLOS could be navalized, not that it has, unless I'm misreading it. While there is no technical reason why land weapons can't be navalized, the success record is poor. It's been tried with numerous weapons by numerous navies and generally found to be too costly to warrant the effort. The marine environment is a nasty place for equipment, even containerized. The container itself is subject to corrosion, water finds the tiniest openings, and the constant motion at sea (with not infrequent slams) wreaks havoc on circuit boards and electrical connections. So said, there's no reason it can't be navalized but it won't be a trivial exercise. It does, however, sound like it might be well worth the effort.

      The EODAS was tested in-house by NG and I suspect there's a world of difference between their claim and actual integration on a Navy ship. The JSF version is having developmental problems (as any new system would) so I can't quite conclude that it's ready to go on a ship. That said, I'm fascinated by the concept and would love to see the Navy do some testing with an eye to using it on smaller vessels, especially. A great suggestion!

      The limited descriptions of the EODAS system that I can find suggest that it may be a detection system rather than a targeting system. For instance, near-real time may not be sufficient for effective targeting of supersonic missiles. If so, it would complement a ships radar/illuminating systems rather than replace them. Do you have any info beyond the Internet bare-bones blurbs?

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    4. There are already naval versions of other SPIKE containerized EO missiles, so I feel safe with the NLOS also having that ability. Besides, my use of NLOS is a "container within a container" as it's an NLOS container within a VLS cell. Two layers of protection.

      I'll have to respectfully disagree with your thoughts on NG's EODAS integration. Remember that everything involved is an NG product (Silent Watch and ICMS). Doubting them is like saying Microsoft can't integrate a printer made by Microsoft into Windows 7 and get it to work with MS Office on a PC made by Microsoft. I have no doubts about their ability to integrate it fully into the shipboard systems.

      You are correct in the Silent Watch (SW) is a Situational Awareness tool and other sensors would be needed for the actual firing solution (EO or radar). Just like the name suggests, it's a complement to a sailor standing "watch". The main benefit to SW is that it never get's tired, never blinks (save the occasional maint periods), you can't sneak past it, etc. It enables early detection of threats thereby giving the LCS crew more time to plan a response.

      btw, The actual EODAS sensors are not having developmental problems in the F-35, only the lag of video display on the pilot's helmet. This would not affect shipboard use.

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    5. Fair enough. I have no facts to disagree further on the Spike NLOS. If it's that near to being a ready to deploy system, I genuinely wonder why the Navy went for the utterly useless Griffon as the NLOS replacement? Do you know if the Navy looked at the Spike NLOS?

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    6. I was looking at some program docs this weekend and they are working on a Griffin-ER (22km). I still see it as inferior as it is GPS/SAL only (no over the horizon / LOS only). That and I think they are trying to keep it all US.

      Here are a few docs on Griffin (Surface and Air launched) & a Summer 2012 LCS update.

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    7. During First Gulf War demining ops we used the MILAN ATK missile and launchers to protect our ships from speedboat attacks..simple,cheap, effective...perfect.

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    8. "6. My original thought was to adapt the F-35's EODAS to naval use. Turns out Northrup Grumman was thinking the same thing. This will allow for 360, 24/7 Situational Awareness and quicker targeting."

      Easier solution is to use CEA's Phased array radar that has been fitted to the Aussie Anzac class frigates, Already tested and quite successfully. Bonus is that the system can be upgraded through programming rather then costly and time consuming hard ware changes. No need to park in port when a computer update does the job.

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  2. Sorry, it was 32 LVS for the GD International Variant (along with 6 torpedoes).

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  3. If those are the parameters, I'll accept the challenge.

    I'd make a dozen ships single-mission platforms for anti-boghammar operations in the Persian Gulf. Add a pair of 25mm Mark 38 mod 2 RWS just aft of the superstructure on the flight deck if they cannot be placed where the 30mm turrets were supposed to be.

    Limit the flight deck to the back half of it's current size for MQ-8 ops. Place container/launchers for Penguin missiles on the forward flight deck, angled outward P/S with a clear lane between launchers. Hellfire or Brimstone missiles should be added on lightweight launchers on the superstructure.

    Protector USVs could be released from the aft boat crane and MQ-8s flown from the smaller flight deck. If possible, add Hellfire/Brimstone to them.

    All of these weapons are proven and in service. I know the MQ-8 has had some problems, but this kind of mission would be simple. I like the USV idea and this role is perfect for it. The comm links between the unmanned vehicles and the ship would be very short, probably line of sight. That should make them harder to jam and would not need satcom support.

    The LCS set up like this would use its speed to place itself between the swarm threat and whatever its defending like a CSG or ESG. It then launches the MQ-8s and USVs to get a better idea of the threat composition, then disrupt/attack. The Penguins can be used for larger targets or ones identified as swarm C2 nodes. If need be the LCS can close within Hellfire/57mm range or closer, again using its mobility to pick how to engage.

    These dozen anti-swarm LCS ships could be forward based in Bahrain or at the AFSB.

    The remainder of the ships could be dedicated MCM.

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    1. That's a nice, tight concept.

      The Penguin exists, I think, in a navalized box launcher though not in the US Navy. Am I right about that?

      Hellfire or Brimstone do not exist currently as navalized systems, as far as I know, and would require development. Navalizing weapons has a pretty spotty success record, as you undoubtedly know. Still, there's no reason it can't be done.

      All the unmanned vehicles you're contemplating will require operators and operator stations which will significantly increase crew, crew support needs, and impact internal volume.

      Protector USVs have a 0.50 cal MG mounted? As you know, 0.50 cal is not an effective boat stopper. How many of these would you see being carried? What would their purpose be? -disrupt? -sink? -scout?

      The combat direction suite would need some extensive integration work which isn't easy.

      Overall, a nice concept with a focused purpose and with a moderate amount of developmental work, one that's achievable in a reasonably near time frame.

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    2. Yes, the Penguin has a surface launch option but the USN only uses it from helicopters.

      The reason I picked Hellfire and Brimstone is that they are basically the same system and use the same launch rails, shipping containers, etc. But they offer so many different sensors and warheads and are mature items. And the Swedish Navy has a surface-launched Hellfire (RBS-17) for coast defense and on some coastal patrol boats like the Combat Boat 90.

      Right now the Protector has only a .50 cal or 40mm AGL as a weapon. But Rafael is working on a slightly larger boat with heavier weapon options. Regardless, the USV could disrupt and heavily damage individual boghammars with either weapon. And it would be far more fearless and accurate!

      I think the integration of the Penguins and Hellfires on the LCS would be straightforward as all the newest models use GPS in flight. The ship could stagger launch missiles to go into “baskets” or zones where the IIR or radar seeker would turn on. That would reduce the number of targets that get two missile hits.

      To some extent the USV would also operate in zones. Because they would be released only when the LCS had a swarm coming in, they could have a set area they “worked” either singly or in pairs until recalled, damaged, or ran out of ammunition. The UAVs might require more human interaction, but I don’t think it would need to be constantly one to one (human/machine). The payoff for the MQ-8s is that the can carry guided weapons like the Griffin or the new laser-guided 2.75” rocket.

      Manpower would be tight, but that’s the problem with the whole LCS program. If they abandon the interchangeable goal, they could make it more useful for a dedicated role. There would be some encroachment of additional berthing areas on to the vehicle deck

      If two LCS anti-swarm ships were available one could handle the UAVs for both and the other might operate closer to the swarm and run the USVs and select targets for both ships’ Penguins. It would be a very busy time for the crews of these ships, but the payoff would be completely disrupting or blunting the attack with a minimum of sailors’ lives put at risk. And the CSG/ESG would have MH-60R/S helicopters to add a final layer of defense

      BTW, the RAM can be used in HAS mode: Helicopter, Aircraft, and Surface targets.

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    3. You didn't say how many of the USVs you envision the LCS carrying. The problem with fighting a small boat swarm is that you have to get almost all of them or you lose, depending on what ship type the swarm is targeting. It would take a long time to pound down a small boat with a MG in this scenario. So, unless you have a lot of USVs, the swarm is going to get through and achieve its goal. [Yes, I realize that even the LCS would have other elements of a layered defense that would help out.] I've discussed the small boat attack scenario with a current Navy crew served weapons instructor and we've concluded that 0.50 cal size weapons are only marginally effective at small boat swarm defense. Time/distance and other factors are totally in favor of the attacker.

      So, how many?

      Do you see being able to launch the USVs sufficiently fast to respond to a short warning time attack?

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    4. As it stands, the USV could carry the .50 cal or 40mm. If the .50 can't work, we can use the 40mm until the newer USV is built. Bear in mind the .50 cal is not being used in the defense but on the offense. If the USV has to get a little closer to engage it won’t be a deal-breaker.

      As to the number of USV and UAV, the maximum that can be carried after adjusting the vehicle deck for the extra crew berthing space.

      Releasing each of the USVs right now might be the biggest problem; I’m not sure how long it would take for each one. The process needs to be sped up, and without a human crew the safety concern of the small boat should be a lot less. I see something like what the USCG has on their new NSC cutters: an inclined ramp to slide them off and then winch them back on. It would make the initial deployment before engagement very quick and could be done while the ship is underway; don’t know what the top speed of that would be.

      Coincidently the USCG’s Long Range Interceptor RHIBs are 11 meters long – the same length as the improved USV. Makes picturing employment a lot more real.

      The swarm's strength is in mass. If you can break it up into smaller groups and/or disrupt their organization, you win a victory right there. Iranian tactics will have some boats using SA-7 missiles for rudimentary air defense. The USVs can find and attack those boats first so the UAVs have less interference. Collating the ship’s radar with the USV and UAV GPS coordinates and EO/IR imagery will be a challenge, but the payoff will be a good picture of the swarm size and composition.

      And if the swarm attack occurs at night or in bad weather then the advantage goes to the LCS with the radar, C3I, and EO/IR equipped unmanned vehicles in a big way. Right now, I believe the Iranians think a mass attack in the Persian Gulf at night or in adverse weather gives them an advantage. This “anti-swarm” of USVs and UAVs backed up with larger guns and missiles on a manned platform could turn that around.

      A side benefit from this idea is that while in the AOR ships attached to Fifth Fleet could practice meaningful OpFor using . . . Protector USVs equipped with MILES. The ships would get practice at dealing with boghammars but so would the unmanned operators.

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    5. You may be overestimating the amount of time you have to deal with a swarm. Have you worked through the timeline of a swarm threat approaching at 45kts? Unless the threat is recognized and engaged many, many miles out the timeline is very compressed. There won't be time to find particular boats. Imagine an ambush scenario and work through the distance/time. I think you'll be surprised.

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    6. Ideally, the task force would pick up the swarm far out. Then all the unmanned vehicles can be deployed. But even if only a couple of USVs and UAVs are launched, that increases the effectiveness of the LCS. And the LCS could back them up with its weapons.

      If the inclined ramp is installed, the LCS could continue to release USVs whenever it had a chance during the engagement. Not at top speed, of course, but with training and experimenting, I think a large number of USVs could be dispensed.

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  4. The GD LCS has a huge flight deck and I would increase the use of VTOL UAVs.

    Take the X2 demonstrator and make a UCAV out of it. 4 Hellfire (or LOGIR quad-packs) would be a good punch.

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    1. Are you talking about the Sikorsky X2 concept demonstrator with the dual main rotors and push prop? If so, that would take a lot of development work to achieve a UCAV. That aside, what would you see as the role of the LCS if it did have this? -land attack? -anti-surface?

      It's a fairly decent size. How many of these do you think could be carried? Enough to be effective in whatever role you have in mind?

      I'm intrigued by the thought of a ship launched UAV in the inland precision strike role.

      Thanks!

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    2. Yeah, that X2. I was not thinking the full size version, but one just large enough to handle 4 Hellfires and have about 6 hours of endurance. This would be more for a rapid-response UCAV.

      Land attack can also be handled by the other UAVs (Hummingbird, Firescout, etc) and SeaHawks.

      The future of warfare is UCAVs and that is one of the reasons why I picked the LCS2 variant (large flight deck).

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  5. Forward deploy to CENTCOM for mine warfare and AFRICOM for counterpiracy. Ditch any plans for ASW module. SUW module focuses strictly on small boat threat.

    Never deploy to PACOM, or anywhere else it could face actual high-end threats. It will never be an open ocean frigate.

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    1. Your idea for limited mission sets is good. It only asks the LCS to do what it's currently capable of, assuming the mine countermeasures module achieves functional status. The only unfortunate aspect is that these are hugely expensive ships to be nothing more than glorified Avenger MCMs or patrol boats. Still, this may be the most immediate and practical use for the LCS.

      Implicit in your concept is the abandonment of the module swapping concept. Each LCS would recieve an MCM or patrol outfit and that would be it for the majority (or all) of its career. Given the lack of modules and how few were planned to be purchased, anyway, I don't see that as a problem.

      A reasonable use of the LCS. Nice!

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    2. So once again we plan to dream away the mine threat. At least the Avengers can be effective against most mine threats--slow yes, but at least they can deal with the problem. The LCS MCM capability is a joke.

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    3. The LCS MCM capability is, currently, a non-existent developmental package although it appears to be trying to use semi-proven components. If it pans out it would, hopefully, be at least as effective as the Avengers. So, acknowledging the developmental status, what particular aspect of the LCS MCM concerns you? Or is it just that it's developmental and not yet functional?

      While it's almost criminal that we're cranking out LCSs with no available modules, the MCM seems the most likely to become moderately useful in the relatively near term. Do you see it differently?

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    4. Pushing out LCS platforms before the modules are done is not a big deal. It's not like the modules will not work.

      As I have shown above, the LCS can be Up-Gunned rather easily (without taking additional module space) as needed.

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    5. Spudman,

      "It's not like the modules will not work."

      That's a pretty optimistic statement given that none currently work and none will be ready for several years, at least. Which modules do you see becoming useful and in what time frame?

      Given enough time, you're correct but we may be half way through the life of many of the ships before it happens.

      What do you see that's making you optimistic? Just curious.

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    6. Check the latest Program Doc (June 2012) as it seems to be ok (although it could always be better) ;)

      To summarize DT/OT complete timelines (ready for tasking)
      SUW (Surface Warfare) Late FY2013
      MCM (Mine Counter Measures) Late FY2014
      ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) Mid FY2016

      This tracks for the most part (in order of severity) what the treats are out there. Biggest threat is surface vessels, then mines, then subs.

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    7. hehe.. "threats" :)

      Although the gunners may call them treats.

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    8. SpudmanWP,

      I know you're optimistic but those module timelines are far more wishful thinking on the part of the Navy than they are realistic. When was the last time the Navy met a developmental timeline? Also, those are the barest bones versions of modules. It will be several years or more before any modules become available that even remotely justify the promise of the LCS. For instance, the SUW module won't even begin to look for a Griffon replacement for another year or two and it will take a few years after that to field something. Without an effective missile, the SUW module is not an effective module. Those timelines and minimal version modules exist only to allow the Navy to claim in public relations that the LCS is a success.

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  6. Yeah, I do tend to be optimistic but when I look at what we have done in the past (Aegis, CVN, Seawolf, Virginia, F-22, F-35, B-2, etc), I don't see modules as being a major hurdle.

    That being said, they should have had the modules at least working in the lab before building the ship. However, that ship has sailed (pardon the pun).

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  7. Picket duty.

    Stick them on the outer edges of the battle group on the premise that they arent worth revealing a submarine to hit, and they are sacrificial compared to cruisers and carriers.

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  8. "Picket duty." - you mean like sacrificial goats? Wouldn't put that on the recruitment posters!

    If there's no budget for SpudmanWP's impressive sounding make over then I'd cancel all the high tech gear except for RAM, in case someone thinks you're worth shooting at; keep the guns for frightening pirates, drug runners and human traffickers (the corporate name for slavers). Areas of ops would be Caribbean and African coasts.

    Still can't get over how much these things cost. Have you considered exporting them to the Chinese?

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    1. Could call it a "missile trap"?

      My understanding is the USNs primary strategy for dealing with the Backfire threat was to convince said backfires that a carrier was in a certain area, and put a Cruiser there instead.

      We (the UK) quite openly sent Destroyers out to act like carriers and take hits for the carriers during the falklands war.

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    2. Remember that the LCS has no area anti-air capability, meaning no Standard missiles, so it can't perform an AAW/picket/missile trap role. The only AAW capability is the short range RAM. Combined with the lack of ASW, picket duty would be largely pointless.

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  9. Just to keep everybody on the same page, here is the latest GAO report (Aug 2012).

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  10. the general public in Mobile lionizes them as amazing vessels (we don't see many true combat vessels here.) Why not put them on the outer edge of the battle group as TrT mentioned. Have two ships on each side, one being a freedom class, which has a larger Ram launcher, and on either side of the ship in the mission package platforms put either another AA missile launcher or low-caliber guns for an AA role. Behind her, an Independence carrying anti-ship missiles and a larger gun. Both would act an early warning vessel, and when in conjunction one could handle small air-based threats while the other targets near-by enemy vessels. In the event one goes down they should have had enough time to call in support from the battle group, allowing them to take over the fighting while they lcs acts as rescue for any distressed vessel. The reason for equipping the Independence with the anti-ship weapons is because, as mentioned before, Freedom cant support a much larger forward gun.

    Simpler idea; both ships have that a spacious mission bay right? convert portions of it into medical facilities. The helicopter pad would allow for rapid transportation of personnel and equipment, the ship's speed would allow it to travel much faster than other relief vessels, Austal claims trimarans are a very stable platform as far as the tilting of the ship, and the basic issue weapons could allow it to enter more hostile environments than other ships requiring escorts.

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    1. Wow! The general public in Mobile needs to get out and see the world. Thanks for stopping by, though!

      You may be underestimating how spread out a battle group gets when in combat. To act as outer pickets, as I think you're suggesting, they'd have to be placed a hundred miles or more from the group. Remember, planes/missiles target and attack from hundreds of miles. The LCS would also need a long range, area defense anti-air missile which it doesn't have (it only has the short range, point defense RAM). Also, the LCS hasn't got the endurance to operate that far from support. It would need to constantly come back to the group to refuel/reprovision. The ship was not designed for this type of operation.

      There's a reason why people outside Mobile criticize this ship!

      Your idea for using the LCS as a humanitarian/mini-medical ship has merit. In the third-world, ambassador role it could show the flag and act as a floating clinic/dental platform. Good thought!

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  11. Thanks for the link SpudmanWP.

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  12. Just kill the LSC program and go with either a European designed Multi-role frigate with Littoral capability. The other option would be to take the US Coast Guard's National Security Cutter design and make modifications to turn it into a Patrol frigate with Standard Frigate weapons and systems.

    For the NSC Frigate, I would upgrade the hull to Naval frigate Standard and call it Block 1. Upgrade the Radar and systems including adding ASEA radar or a lighter version of Aegis Radar system or the Active Phased Array Radar that is on the Sachsen class frigate. Install 8 RIM-162 ESSM in a quad pack Mk-41 VLS. Add Spike NLOS and a Quad pack hellfire missiles. Standard 8 Quad pack harpoons in the stern. Add TB-29 Towed array sonar and standard MK-48 ADCAP torpedoes. I would add SEA RAM and include Typhoon Weapon Station with Mk 38 Mod 2 for small boat defense. At the same time, I would keep the NSC's Sea legs so that the NSC frigate has the Sea Legs to keep up with an Amphibious assault group or a Surface Action Group. I would at the same time upgrade the 57mm main deck gun with 5"/54 caliber Mark 45 gun for surface warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment to support amphibious operations

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  13. Taking into account the weakness and advantage of the type I would suggest to create what I would call "interdiction squadrons". These sq. would group 5-6 LCS's and a command and support ship, a small LHA like the french Mistral class and a light tanker-supply ship. This force could conduct several missions like initial deployment group to certain volatile regions of choice. These groups could also conduct litoral recon blocking,mining and demining operations. Drugwar related operations in the Carib would also be one of their missions where they could relieve baatleforce assets.I would replace the 57mm with a 76mm turret, ad a Penguin type short range anti-ship missile and some 20mm mountings. Depending misssion I would also include the possibility to use the missionbay as a fuel area, just like battle tanks use additional fueltanks to reach a battle area without using main fuel storage capacity.So, in short create rapid deployment squadrons who could act as an "holding force' independently or with some support. So you get the most out of it... very raw at the moment, needs finetuning, any idea"s? btw in Royal Navy Frigate Commanders expect to be sacrified to save the carriers, they know this, it's part of the frigate job....

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  14. The reasoning of using UAV's is totally impossible to archieve in reaction to a swarm attack. It would need a command system of such flexibility that it is simply unafordable. It's the ship that will perform the battle!
    What is the problem about demining modules? European navies use this for more than 20 years.

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  15. UAVs would only be needed for targeting of long-range badguys. Look at my UpGun plan above (specifically the 30mm RWS)

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    1. Got it! Ok for targeting. The french are testing something similar on their prototype patrol vessel "Adroit". They use a siebel copter. But if one uses this it will mean that a rotation system will have to be put in place to have permanent observation since swarm tactics are based on rapid movements..

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  16. Take a look at the naval strike missile. Is quad launched and is currently being used the the Norwegians on several of their boats. The skjold class is my personal favorite. Looks like a very easy system to maintain as well for those of us who actually have to maintain and shoot these systems.

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