We recently examined LCS Operating Costs and one of the issues identified was the shore-based component of the crew. The difficulty in trying to assess that component was that nothing was known about its size. Co-incidentally, Defense News website just recently published an article offering a glimpse at the Navy’s first attempt at sizing the shore based component (1).
“One sensitivity has been the number of US people supporting the LCS effort — a footprint the Singaporeans would like to keep small.
The current team of about 10 Navy people supporting Freedom has been about right, Taylor said, although one or two positions might be added as the LCS force builds up.
‘We’re not trying to build up a great big organization,’ Taylor said. ‘We’re trying to maintain a small footprint here in Singapore, and still reach out to a very large area.’
The shore support also includes nine contractors from Lockheed Martin, seven for the ship and two for the mission package, said Capt. Dan Brintzinghoffer, the LCS fleet introduction program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington. At least one contractor, and at times as many as three more, is embarked on Freedom to handle maintenance issues.”
Adding up the numbers from above we see 10 Navy personnel and 9 contractors plus 1-3 more contractors aboard ship. So, for the original LCS embarked crew size of 40, the shore-based component increases the effective crew size by 25% and with the contractors figured in, the effective crew size increases from 40 to 60-63, a 50% or greater increase.
Of course, the shore-based component seems unlikely to increase linearly as additional ships are added. Presumably, the shore-based component will be able to service multiple ships with only small incremental increases in support crew size. On the other hand, Freedom’s experience so far indicates that the level of maintenance support required may exceed the anticipated support crew’s capacity. We’ll keep an eye on this to see how it plays out.
(1) Defense News, http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130926/DEFREG02/309260017/Keeping-LCS-Running-Matter-Ship-Shore-Support, Christopher Cavas,
Sep 26, 2013