The Navy has announced that the
(LCS-4) has completed live fire tests of its major
gun systems, the Mk110 57mm, and the Mk46 30mm.
I apologize for using the word “major” to describe a machine gun and a
2.2” gun but for the LCS, they’re considered major. As usual, the Navy describes the tests as
stunningly successful. Given the Navy’s
egregious PR spin efforts in the past, I’m not even going to bother offering a
link to an announcement. If you want to
read made up rainbows and sunshine that badly, you can easily find it on the
So, why is this event of interest? A couple of reasons, actually.
First, this is a rare sign of progress for the LCS-2 version which has, thus far, failed to deploy and failed to demonstrate any useful progress towards becoming a functioning warship. Again, I apologize, this time for using the word “warship” in conjunction with the LCS. We’re stuck with these ships so it would be nice to see them at least achieve whatever functionality they’re capable of.
Second, and more important, you’ll recall that the LCS-1 version’s 57mm gun was found to be inaccurate at much above 10 kts due to the ship’s vibration. The question is whether the -2 version suffers from the same problem. On the one hand, you’d think not simply due to the fact that the two ships have nothing in common as far as the shape of their hulls or the way the move through the water. On the other hand, both ships have been built extremely light with all signs pointing to woefully insufficient structural reinforcement in both classes. The -2 version suffered cracking of structural members during heavy weather testing and has had restrictions placed on its operating envelope.
A 57mm gun is nothing to write home about. You’ll recall that the Zumwalt program rejected the gun and switched to a smaller 30mm gun for close in protection – a fairly stunning commentary on the 57mm. Still, the 57mm is what the LCS has so it would be nice if it could shoot straight. The Navy certainly won’t tell us if the -2 version has gun problems so ComNavOps will keep an eye on the DOT&E reports.
Here’s hoping that the -2 version will begin to actually do something and that its gun will shoot straight!