Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LCS To Be Cut

Christopher Cavas at Navy Times website (1) reports that the Pentagon has directed the Navy to cut the LCS program from 52 ships to 32.  This is a preliminary guidance and far from a final action.  Nevertheless, it demonstrates that the LCS program is one of the vulnerable targets in the ongoing budget challenge. 

That the LCS program would be cut is not particularly surprising.  What’s surprising is that it would allow an additional 8 ships from the current 24 that are built, building, or under contract.  Terminating the program after the current 24 makes sense.  Extending the program to 32 but not the full 52 does not make sense.  There is no discernible benefit to 8 more ships that I can see.

Regardless of the final numbers and rationale, an early termination of the program is going to make the operational cost of the LCS much greater.  The entire shore-based maintenance system was based on an assumption of sufficient numbers of ships to make the system cost efficient.  Spare parts will be purchased in much smaller quantities and will, therefore, be much more expensive individually. 

In addition, the entire module concept is going to be impacted.  Far fewer numbers of modules will be purchased, again driving up the cost of each one.  With fewer modules, the flexibility of the LCS will be further constrained with even fewer of any particular module available for swapping (to the extent that the swap concept was even still viable).

From the Navy’s perspective (not mine!) it would make far more sense to voluntarily terminate the program at the current 24 and immediately begin moving on to the next incarnation of the LCS with heavier weapons, less speed, no module swapping, and incorporating the lessons learned.

* Thanks to NICO for the heads-up on this item! *



4 comments:

  1. I would rather they cut the LCS to 24, split them between the MCM and patrol Boat Fleet. Ban them from sailing with the Big Navy. Start building a Multi Role Frigate that can command and control the 24 LCS. As for the LCS, I would Arm them in the same fashion as the Braunschweig-class corvette,MILGEM project and the Steregushchy-class corvette.

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  2. Look, I afraid I have to disabuse you of something but cutting back too 32 ships will not cost great increase in the cost of operating, nor will it effect much of a cost savings as the 20 ships fell well beyond the 5 year budget projection. But if this cut does go into effect, and nothing is done to make up the number of ships in the fleet, there is something that will suffer, the Navy's sailors and their families.

    We already can see the effect of having too few ships when it comes to aircraft carriers. The navy has said that the next three carrier deployment will last over 9 month each. Such lengthy deployment are great hardships on the crews. And it is worst on the families of the crew. In fact such long deployment are guarantee to have several effect, 1) increase in the numbers of divorcees, 2) lowing the number of reenlistments , 3)increase of drinking and drug abuse in both crew and their families, 4) psychological and medical problems among the crew.

    That is why people discussion about the make up of the Navy is not just fun and games people.

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  3. DoD Buzz now reports that the Navy still expects to build 52 LCS:

    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/01/16/navy-still-expects-to-build-52-ship-lcs-fleet/


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  4. No - doesn't look that way.


    http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140119/NEWS04/301190019/Navy-Pentagon-battle-over-LCS-future

    Matt

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