Saturday, December 13, 2014

New LCS - AAW

As we just noted, the Navy has selected their new “frigate”, a slightly upgraded LCS (1).  All right, it’s a decision I strenuously disagree with but it’s a matter of professional opinion and perhaps the Navy has information that is not publicly available that puts the decision in a different light.  If that were the extent of my disagreement I could leave it at the level of a professional difference of opinion.  Unfortunately, when you have to lie to justify a decision it moves the disagreement from professional opinion to fraud.  What am I talking about?  Consider the issue of AAW protection.

You’ll recall that one of the major conceptual faults with the LCS was its inability to provide even a small degree of credible self-defense from aerial and missile threats - not surprising given that the ship’s only AAW capability was a single SeaRAM launcher on the Independence version or a single RAM on the Freedom version.

Now, however, the Navy claims that the new LCS (or Small Surface Combatant, SSC, to use their nomenclature) is completely capable of operating independently.  According to Assistant Secretary Sean Stackley,

“Are you going to need an Aegis ship to protect this ship? The answer is no,” said Stackley. One major criticism of the original LCS was that it lacked the anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses to survive on its own against any serious threat, requiring escort by expensive cruisers and destroyers equipped with the Aegis defense system. While threat environments vary, Stackley said, “we have given this multi-mission [LCS] the degree of self-defense that it needs so it does not have to be operating underneath the umbrella of an Aegis ship.”

What is this remarkable degree of self-defense?  It’s a single upgraded SeaRAM which, for the Independence version, means that nothing has changed.  For the Freedom version it means swapping out the RAM for the SeaRAM which might be considered a very modest upgrade for that version.  However, the Independence version’s self-defense was previously considered inadequate and remains unchanged while the Freedom merely comes up to that same inadequate level so how does that constitute a sufficient increase in self-defense to claim that the LCS no longer needs Aegis protection?

Let me summarize and repeat that.  The AAW weaponry is unchanged and yet the LCS no longer needs protection.

Now, to be fair, they’ve added some decoys and a stripped down ECM system.  That will help the AAW situation, to be sure, but if that’s all that’s needed to no longer need Aegis protection then why do we even have Aegis?  It sounds like all we need is to add some decoys and a stripped down ECM to any of our ships and we don’t need Aegis at all.

This is absolute garbage that goes way beyond a positive spin.  This is, pure and simple, fraud and lies.  We’re going to send sailors into situations that they are hopelessly unprepared and improperly equipped for and people are going to get killed.

Once again, Navy leadership has violated the trust of the men and women they lead.


(1)“LCS Lives: Hagel Approves Better Armed Upgrade”, Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., 11-Dec-2014,

2 comments:

  1. The Navy really needs to start doing the 360 performance reviews for the Senior folks. Maybe then the poor sailors that have to live and fight with these ships and systems could stand a chance.

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  2. Didn't it used to be that a guy who welded a patch on a submarine had to be one of the people taking the first submerged ride after he was done?

    Maybe we have the Admirals or Bob Work or whomever ride a couple deployments a year in these puppies alone in the Persian Gulf or wherever things get dicey? If its that good, there should be no problem.

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