Monday, April 13, 2015

LCS - It's Phenomenal

There has been a spate of good news regarding the LCS program recently or so the Navy would have us believe.  Consider this tidbit, reported by USNI website, in which PEO LCS describes the ASW module performance as "phenomenal" (1),

“ ‘… the results are classified, but what I can tell you is that the performance of the system was phenomenal,’ Antonio [PEO Rear Adm. Brian Antonio] said.”

USNI describes the ASW module components thusly,

“The anti-submarine warfare mission package consists of the same Multi-Function Towed Array submarine-detection sonar already used in the fleet, a variable-depth sonar and a towed lightweight torpedo decoy. If an enemy submarine were detected and needed to be attacked, the mission package also includes the MH-60S helicopter with Mk-54 airdropped lightweight torpedoes.”

Note that the towed array and decoy systems are fleet standard so the only new component is the variable depth sonar and that’s only new to the US Navy.  It’s been in routine use in other navies for some time.  So, it would seem that the combination of two standard systems and a well established foreign system constitute the definition of “phenomenal”.  Hmmmm ……

RAdm. Antonio also noted that the ASW module was too heavy for production and deployment but I guess that doesn’t stop it from being “phenomenal”.

Moving on …

In another USNI website article, the same RAdm. Antonio had this to say about the USS Fort Worth’s deployment (2),

“as challenging as Freedom was, Fort Worth has just been phenomenal”

There’s that word again, “phenomenal”.  Did someone get a word-of-the-day calendar for a gift?

Apparently, Fort Worth has experienced an improvement in maintenance issues over those experienced by Freedom during her Singapore PR cruise.

“… in the order of hundreds of hours of corrective maintenance compared to thousands of hours of corrective maintenance…”

The numbers are a bit vague and I don’t know whether hundreds of hours of corrective maintenance constitute an actual success or just a relative success compared to the phenomenally (hey, if PEO LCS can toss the word around, so can I) disastrous Freedom cruise.

I find it phenomenal that the LCS is suddenly so phenomenal after so many problems.  Still, it’s phenomenally good news – if you believe the Navy.  And therein lies the point of this post.  Do you believe what the Navy has to say about the LCS?  Remember, they’ve lied about every aspect of this program from day one until now so do you really believe the phenomenal news?  I don’t and that’s really sad.  It doesn’t matter whether PEO LCS’ news is accurate or not.  The real issue is that the Navy’s credibility is so badly damaged that it leads me to automatically and utterly discount anything they say.  Credibility was the real casualty of the botched LCS program.

Well, you say, there may have been some spin applied to the LCS in the past but they’re making real progress now and we should accept the phenomenal news at face value rather than automatically doubt it.  I might be inclined to do that if it weren’t for the DOT&E annual reports that paint a completely different picture of the state of the LCS program in general and the ASW module in particular.  DOT&E reports not only don’t use the word phenomenal, they describe in great detail the myriad failings of the program.  So, I combine the utter lack of credibility with the DOT&E reports and conclude that the Navy is, yet again, lying aggressively applying wishful thinking.

It’s phenomenal how difficult it is to regain one’s credibility after it’s been lost.  A good start, though, would be to speak truthfully.

(1) USNI, "PEO LCS Looking at 2016 Deployment of Anti-Sub Package Ahead of Reaching IOC", Megan Eckstein, 13-Apr 2015,

(2) USNI, "USS Fort Worth Successfully Tested Overseas Maintenance Outside of Singapore Hub", Megan Eckstein, 13-Apr-2015,


  1. If the LCS's towed array sonar did detect a submarine, would there be time for the single MH-60S to attack the submarine or would the LCS be in trouble? Remember, the LCS doesn't have an organic torpedo launcher. I'm guessing the LCS would be in trouble.

    submarine-detection sonar already used in the fleet, a variable-depth sonar and a towed lightweight torpedo decoy. If an enemy submarine were detected and needed to be attacked, the mission package also includes the MH-60S helicopter with Mk-54 airdropped lightweight torpedoes.”

  2. There is a mistake in the article...the MH-60S is not a part of the ASW mission module because it is the MH-60R that has a torpedo capability and not the MH-60S. The point remains that the embarked helo is the only option available to the LCS to engage a sub-surface target since the platform does not support VLA- or SVTT-launched lightweight torpedoes.

    - InterestedParty

  3. It's such a PHENOMENAL ship that we are upgraded the next batch because after years of criticism, we belatedly agree that the first batch has no combat value....

  4. He was talking about the profitability of the program, not its military usefulness. He's looking for a job to make a phenomenal salary after the Navy.

  5. I think that one of the really galling things about this is that the Navy passes this off like the Emperor's fashion spokesman. 'Look at the exquisite threads in the emperor's new clothes, we're all so pleased with how they turned out...'

  6. I'd like to view the specs of the potentially outstanding frigate version.
    Would ASW be the same as LCS ? How about MIW ?
    Not sure about the capabilities of the SSC / frigate The articles in USNI News, about this ship's capabilities, are not displaying outstanding subject matter.

    1. The Navy has stated that the new LCS will not do MCM.

    2. IIRC the new FF/SSC/LSC 3000 is your same LCS with a few dedicated weapons systems.It basically looks like it has a dedicated sonar suite (the ASW module built in maybe - VDS and a towed array), a planned AShM, and a larger SeaRAM Mount. But not much beyond that. The MCM modules are left out. Don't know about sensors. And I'm skeptical about the AShM. I could see the Navy paying for a longer ranged hellfire and calling it a 'littoral AShM'!

  7. Thanks for the info about the SSC / FF / LCS. Looks like no VLS for anti air , no ASROC just a M60R helo for ASW prosecution.

    1. Despite the Navy's spin, the LCS has been only marginally upgraded.


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