As you know, ComNavOps prefers not to simply repeat another website’s posting information. ComNavOps’ job is to add value through analysis but occasionally another website has information that is just too important and too self-explanatory and must, therefore, simply be largely repeated. Such is the case with Defense News website’s reporting of the continued failure of the LCS mine countermeasures (MCM) module (1).
You’ll recall that the Navy bet all in on the LCS as the MCM platform of the future. The existing Avenger class dedicated MCM vessels were literally allowed to rot pierside and the Navy has had to scramble to try to bring them back to operational status due to the failure of the LCS MCM module. The module has been under continuous development since the beginning of the LCS program and has nothing to show for the effort.
Hints of the problems have been available in the DOT&E annual reports as well as the relative scarcity of glowing public information releases from the Navy. The
(LCS-2) has been the dedicated test platform for the
MCM module and has been employed nearly full time testing the system. Independence
The individual components of the MCM module have been documented to fail to meet their performance requirements and the overall module has never operated with the mandated degree of reliability.
Defense News now reports that the Director of DOT&E, Michael Gilmore, has issued a memo to Pentagon acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, detailing the continued failings of the MCM module and, worse, the Navy’s attempts to mislead concerning system reliability.
“Recent developmental testing provides no statistical evidence that the system is demonstrating improved reliability, and instead indicates that reliability plateaued nearly a decade ago.”
“The reliability of existing systems is so poor that it poses a significant risk to both the upcoming operational test of the LCS Independence-variant equipped with the first increment of the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) mission package, and to the Navy’s plan to field and sustain a viable LCS-based minehunting and mine clearance capability prior to fiscal year 2020.”
What is the actual reliability data?
“… reliability has improved since then, but continues to fall far short of the threshold of 75 hours’ mean time between operational mission failure (MTBOMF).
So, the standard is set at 75 hours between failures. What is the actual reliability performance?
“But despite all the efforts to improve reliability, Gilmore assessed the RMS system’s current overall reliability at 18.8 hours between failure, and the RMMV vehicle at 25.0 hours.”
Wow! That’s quite a failing. The standard is 75 hours and the equipment is achieving 19-25 hours. That’s not even close. But it gets worst. The Navy is attempting to mislead concerning reliability data.
He [Gilmore] took consistent issue with Navy reliability data, pointing out that in some instances, ‘the Navy inflated operating time estimates for the MTBOMF calculations by assuming that post-mission analysis time (when the vehicle is not in the water and not operating) could be counted.’ ”
So not only is the MCM module failing but the Navy is trying to hide the failure. I’ve stated repeatedly that the Navy’s integrity is highly suspect, to put it as politely as I can. This is all on CNO Greenert. He is condoning this type of fraudulent reporting.
Now, here’s the even more stunning part of this sad story. Despite all this failure, the Navy is set to restart production of the module! The module isn’t even close to working so the Navy’s response is to buy more. This is stupidity at a staggering level. Way to go Greenert.
There is one more aspect to this that caught my attention. You’ll recall that the Pentagon recently ordered the Navy to conduct shock testing on the new carrier Ford even though the Navy was attempting to postpone the testing for several years until the next carrier or even indefinitely (see, “Shocking”). The Pentagon, through the office of the acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, issued the order to the Navy directing the earlier testing. At the time I wondered who had the authority and was pulling the strings on this. Now, it appears we have an answer. Michael Gilmore seems to be communicating directly with Frank Kendall and
Kendall seems to be
buying in to Gilmore’s thoughts on acquisition and testing deficiencies in the
Navy. This is about as good news as ComNavOps
could hope for. Gilmore has apparently
gotten fed up with the Navy’s games and is taking his case to higher authority
in the form of Kendall. This can
only benefit the Navy although it’s almost criminally shameful that the Navy
has to be forced in this manner to do what’s right.
(1)Defense News, “Official: Minehunting System Shows No Improvement”, Christopher P. Cavas,
August 30, 2015,