Reader “Nick” pointed out some interesting data on the LCS operating range that is worth repeating as a post. Thanks “Nick”!
As reported in the DOT&E 2014 Annual Report, the LCS-1 variant failed to meet its endurance/range requirements by a substantial amount.
“During operational testing, LCS 3 did not demonstrate that it could achieve the Navy requirement for fuel endurance (operating range) at the prescribed transit speed or at sprint speed. ... Based on fuel consumption data collected during the test, the ship’s operating range at 14.4 knots is estimated to be approximately 1,961 nautical miles (Navy requirement: 3,500 nautical miles at 14 knots) and the operating range at 43.6 knots is approximately 855 nautical miles (Navy requirement: 1,000 nautical miles at 40 knots). … The shortfall in endurance may limit the flexibility of the ship’s operations in the Pacific and place a heavier than anticipated demand on fleet logistics.”
We’ve previously noted that the speed requirements have been steadily downgraded and now the endurance/range are also being downgraded on top of previous downgrades to range! This severely limits the usefulness of the class.
Given that the LCS is planned to make up a third of the Navy’s combat fleet (setting aside the nearly non-existent combat capability of the class), it should be a bit disconcerting that a third of the fleet won’t be able to venture far from their bases.
Honestly, this is an embarrassment for a blue-water, global navy.