Monday, January 9, 2017

Why DOT&E?

ComNavOps has long preached that weapon system performance in combat will never even remotely approach the manufacturer or Navy’s claims.

Further, ComNavOps has long preached that only the existence of DOT&E (Director, Operational Test and Evaluation), the Pentagon’s weapon and system testing organization, ensures even a modicum of weapon performance (see, "DOT&E", for a refresher on what the group is and does).  Without DOT&E, the Navy would conduct only cursory and simplistic testing before fielding systems and calling them done.  For example, the Navy’s reluctance, almost refusal, to conduct ship shock testing proves the Navy’s near total disinterest in testing.

Worse, the Navy and DOT&E have an adversarial relationship with the Navy fighting DOT&E every step of the way and only grudgingly agreeing to testing when forced into it – witness, again, the mandated shock testing of the Ford.  This relationship is simply insane.  The Navy should be the biggest possible supporter of DOT&E.  It’s DOT&E that is attempting to ensure that the Navy gets what it pays for and that the Navy’s weapons and systems maximize their performance.  Isn’t that what the Navy wants?  Or should want? 

Consider this bit about the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 testing from the DOT&E 2015 Annual Report.  RAM has been around in one form or another for many years.  You wouldn’t think there’d be anything left to test and if the Navy had their way, they’d probably skip any additional testing.  However, …

“Deficiencies in RAM Block 2 integration with the SSDS-based
combat system caused several RAM Block 2 missiles to miss their target during one of the IOT&E missile firing scenarios. The Navy has initiated a formal Failure Review Board to determine the required corrections.

The CVN and LHA 6 class ships defend themselves against
ASCMs by first using the medium-range Evolved SeaSparrow
Missile (ESSM) and then the shorter-range RAM. RAM uses radio frequency and/or infrared terminal guidance to home on ASCM threats. Hot debris from prior intercepts and warhead detonations can therefore interfere with RAM’s infrared guidance. While the SSDS is designed to schedule RAM and ESSM engagements to avoid this type of interference, it failed to do so during testing.”
[emphasis added]

This is just one small example of why DOT&E testing is so vital.  The Navy needs to stop viewing DOT&E as an impediment and start seeing them as the thin line standing between combat success and failure.

This small example also illustrates another common occurrence during weapon discussions.  There are a group of people who completely buy into manufacturer and Navy claims about performance.  Those claims never materialize – never even come close.  History conclusively proves this and this blog has presented that data on numerous occasions.  Despite this, there are always a group who insist that, despite all the previous failings for a given weapon type, the next one will be the miracle system that revolutionizes warfare.  This testing is a tiny example of why that will never happen.  There are always problems.  The more complex and fantastic the system, the greater the problems.  The problems may be with the weapon itself, the software that runs it, the integration of the weapon with the ship’s systems, lack of operator training, or whatever.  None of that changes the fact that weapons never work as claimed.  See it - accept it.

Of course, it is this realization that adds even more importance to the need for testing – and that’s the point of this post.  Weapons never work so let’s find out how and why during testing rather than during combat.  The Navy (and too many readers!) needs to abandon blind faith in manufacturer’s claims and put their faith and support in DOT&E.

Here are a sampling of the reasons why DOT&E exists.  From the DOT&E 2015 Annual Report,

“The system tested in OA 1 could not detect and track targets well enough to support weapons employment in an environment that reflects realistic fighter employment and tactics.”

“The JHSV ramp cannot handle the small, but continual, relative movement of the two ships when moored skin-to-skin. Although vehicles were successfully transferred inside a protected harbor, transfer operations at-sea failed.”

“The Navy began operational testing of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 in April 2015. Problems identified during FY12-13 integrated testing resulted in follow-on integrated testing in late FY14 and pushed operational testing to FY15.”

No greater example of the value of DOT&E exists than the entire LCS fiasco.  If the Navy had had their way, we would have already built 55 ships and none would have any functional value.  As seen in multiple posts on this blog, it is only the DOT&E that is finding problem after problem with the LCS.  The Navy is oblivious or, more likely, just doesn’t want to know about problems out of fear that problems will lead Congress to question the funding of the ships. 

DOT&E is all that prevents us from fielding a Cold War Soviet fleet of non-functional capabilities arising from criminally irresponsible Navy policies.  The Navy needs to embrace DOT&E as the watchdogs and guardians of combat effectiveness that they are.


  1. Two issues.

    (1) The end product is statistically unreliable and of poor quality. This wasn't always true but is true today and shows no hope of improvement.

    Doesn't that argue for simpler, single purpose tools, as opposed to Buck Rodgers wonder weapons?

    If we can't get lube oil coolers right, the higher level offensive functionality is unlikely to be available when needed.

    (2) In the civilian world, the ability to engage in opinion-based puffery regarding future prospects is circumscribed by the reasonableness of the opinion held.

    In light of the new disclosures re: F-35C deficiencies (2019!!!!) and the gundecking of the LCS trials, I think there have been a lot of opinions, professional and otherwise, that cross the line into fraud.

    The opinion that these programs were on track was not reasonable. It was deceitful in every sense of that word.

    Bogdan, Rowden, and PEO LCS need to be brought to court martial. This problem will not turn around until the corruption ends.

    Enough. We need defense. We don't need the vampire squid colony currently occupying the Pentagon and Crystal City.

  2. " It’s DOT&E that is attempting to ensure that the Navy gets what it pays for and that the Navy’s weapons and systems maximize their performance. Isn’t that what the Navy wants? Or should want? "

    I had a buddy who's GF wanted the first gen VW Beetle. I'd been reading about many quality issues during the initial run, and I passed that on. I became a bad guy; so I dropped it.

    She had to get a new engine and transmission at 50K miles.

    In this situation, the Navy is my buddy's GF. With the added complexity that in the Navy's case, the people buying the products may have a very lucrative career with the products manufacturer and never have to live with the bad product. There are others who are smitten with the ideas of the ships like Zumwalt or LCS.

    So yeah, DOT&E to them is the bad guy.

    Question: DOT&E uses the Navy's own testing script, correct?
    If that is so, it mystifies me that people can complain about DOT&E at all.

  3. My $0.02:

    Basically, you have DT testing and OT testing. Ta-da!

    DT testing is purely technical and tests the "item" against a metric/requirement/KPP only. In aviation procurement, engineering degreed pilots/NFOs, not always the best aviators, who have attended and graduated from Test Pilot School conduct the DT tests on OTS or developmental items for ACAT 1/2/3 systems.

    NAVAIR (an acquisition command) commands where these TPS grads work and where their funding for all their people to do the tests from the PEO/PMA side who own the program and who also along w/OPNAV sponsors developed the requirements/KPPs, the milestone for procurement, the testing required, etc.

    OPNAV gives the PEOA/PMA the money to do the tests and procurement, they are the "producers of the movie" and keep Congress happy (50 state). Cheerleaders if you will with the $$. They also tell the fleet what great stuff they are getting- early on. That always results in problems later but hey they have their next job in the fleet to plan for, right?
    When a test and evaluation master plan (TEMP) is written for any item- whole ship, whole aircraft or even a single avionics box, those pesky DoD/COMOPTEVFOR OT testers get to add on their test requirement. Only fair, right? Protect the Sailor and make sure the item works, a noble pursuit. OT testers are fleet representative individuals with fleet experience, not engineering or TPS grads. They get an indoc course from COTF only....

    Well I can tell you that everyone at OPNAV, PEO/PMA and the NAVAIR/VX squadrons, who get paid entirely out of the program funds (APN) for the project work from the git-go to mitigate, minimize, delay (after milestone decsiions, etc.) and truncate OT testing planned. What test results OT&E/COTF can produce are then marginalized and nit-picked. Often they are ridiculed. Over and over again I have seen this since I was an OT tester back in the 1980's on an ACAT program.

    Also, that group above gets very cozy with the selected vendor. Who wouldn't listen to a LM, Boeing or GD? But that possibility only gets extreme if the service leadership actively encourages it...

    This happens all the time. Follow the money and you will see the signal flow on our broken acquisition system. It has gotten to the point that OT testing is just a check in the block.


  4. DOT&E has few if any, actual "operators" on staff, which makes their label as "operational" quite suspect. Any group can find a "fault" of some kind with any platform or system. DOT&E does this ans then trumpets their results. They are an organization based on finding fault, and if they cannot do so their reason for existence fades. The tests also tend to be canned and not reflective of operational concerns, as has been the case for many of the LCS 'tests' completed under DOT&E authority. The good news is that the LCS program is done with OT testing.

    As SECNAV's from John Lehman to Ray Mabus have said, "Testing proves that testing works" and not much else.

    1. >>The good news is that the LCS program is done with OT testing.

      True. Both variants have been evaluated as Not Operationally Suitable.

      The LCS program has failed.

    2. I'm sure you read the linked companion piece on DOT&E and I'm also sure you understand the methodology of DOT&E. They aren't just making up tests on their own. They take the specs that are ESTABLISHED BY THE NAVY and test to see whether they are met. If you believe that a particular spec is not relevant, that's an issue with the Navy, not DOT&E.

      When DOT&E measures weight margins, stability, speed, range, weapon accuracy, sensor detection capability, or whatever, it's all relative to NAVY PROVIDED SPECS.

      You're coming close to a "shoot the messenger" kind of response to DOT&E. If you can document any overstepping or inappropriate testing that DOT&E has "insisted" on, I'd love to hear it and post it. I watch this program very closely and I've seen nothing from DOT&E that wasn't fully warranted.

      I think any fair assessment of the LCS would have to acknowledge a large number of problems. One might fairly debate whether the problems are operationally significant or not but to deny the test results is to turn a blind eye to the problems.

      As far as DOT&E's "sensationalizing" the news, that was brought about by the Navy's refusal to recognize any problems. DOT&E felt the need to go over the Navy's head, as it were. To give one small example, had DOT&E not bypassed the Navy, the Navy would have refused to conduct shock testing on the LCS (and Ford!).

      I'm sincerely a little but puzzled by what your desired outcome is. Do you not want any testing conducted? Do you only want tests that will have a high degree of success? I'd love to hear what you think DOT&E should do.

    3. DOT&E was created because Congress claimed it did not trust the services to conduct "operational" testing. The right answer should have been for members of Congress to become more informed on military capabilities. Carl Vinson did not need a DOT&E to tell him what worked and what did not.

      As to LCS, the Navy never refused to do shock testing, but merely postponed it. DOT&E's range testing of LCS 3 was flat out inaccurate, it refused to allow general maintenance before the RMMV test that resulted in the end of the RMS program, and it's evaluation of the small boat defense exercise on LCS 4 was hotly disputed by the Navy. I ask, who is expected to know more about the operational capabilities of US Navy warships; senior officers with decades of experience or a physics PhD who has never served, and does not have a naval architecture or weapons engineering background!

      Many of the recent encounters between DOT&E and the navy are driven more by the negative personality of the DOT&E director J. Michael Gilmore than by anything else. Gilmore is a former CBO and PA&E analyst who got into vigorous fights with the Navy in the 1990's and early 2000's over cost issues on a variety of platforms. I know of no more hated DoD official than Dr. Gilmore (among active duty Navy officers.) He is about as friendly as ADM Rickover was on bad days. Gilmore's caustic personality and contempt for senior uniformed officers (even though he has never served in a uniformed capacity) has eliminated any chance of a good working relationship.

    4. "Navy never refused to do shock testing, but merely postponed it."

      The point of shock testing is to generate feedback and corrections so that subsequent ships of the class can be improved. Obviously, the earlier the better. The Navy was attempting to delay the testing to the point where meaningful corrections and feedback into the construction process would have been rendered moot. As it is, we currently have 21 LCS built or under construction and therefore unable to benefit from the shock test findings. That's 21 of the total 26-32 "standard" LCS that will be built. That's not much benefit from the shock testing, is it? Had the Navy had their way, the entire buy of LCS would likely have occurred before obtaining any shock test data. It doesn't take much of a crystal ball to see that the Navy would likely have made that very point and argued to skip the testing as it would have no opportunity for feedback and thus no point. It's clear that the Navy had no intention of conducting shock testing. They were just delaying to the point where they could argue that the test had no relevance.

    5. "refused to allow general maintenance before the RMMV test"

      I have read nothing about that. Do you have a link or reference to share?

    6. "small boat defense exercise on LCS 4 was hotly disputed by the Navy"

      The test was pretty straightforward. The NAVY ESTABLISHED threshold ranges by which the swarm boats had to be defeated. In two of the five (seven? I don't have the details in front of me) tests the boats broke the threshold without being destroyed. That's as straightforward and factual as you can get.

      I assume you're referring to the Hellfire issue. Hellfire was included in the test because the Hellfire is not currently an LCS weapon. To claim that it should somehow have been factored in is like claiming that LCS lasers and railguns should be factored in because the Navy plans on installing those in the future. Hellfire, lasers, and railguns may or may not ever be installed on the LCS. Recall all the weapons that have been concretely, not doubt about it, absolutely going to happen, scheduled for installation on the LCS (NLOS and Griffin, for example) but didn't actually happen. Hellfire may or may not get installed. If and when it does, the LCS can, and should, be retested.

      Blaming DOT&E for a Navy established test result is illogical. DOT&E didn't fail to destroy the swarm boat targets, the LCS did.

      If you won't accept any negative test result then there's no point testing.

      You recall the WWII torpedo fiasco, I assume? The lessons from that and the parallels to today's weapon systems are, I trust, obvious to you.

    7. As far as personality conflicts between Gilmore and Navy leadership, that does not invalidate DOT&E's testing or the results. It also does not make Gilmore wrong. Rickover was not universally liked but he was right. Boyd was almost universally hated but he was right. Billy Mitchell was not well liked but he was right. You get the idea. Personally, I consider Gilmore's conflicts (I don't know that he has any but I'll accept your statement on the matter) a sign that he is on the right track given the Navy's general leadership failings.

    8. As you've documented, CNO:

      Its hard to say the Navy's been defrauded by the program when they've been willing, eager participants in achieving this result.

      Not Operationally Suitable. Clearly Not Operationally Effective given the serial module failures.

      Can we stop throwing good money and time after bad, hold the responsible parties to account and move on?

      I know the answer, but we're past the stage where we need to talk about LCS remediation and where we need to talk about Institutional change.

      The sequential failures are lining up for catastophe.

      The Navy has failed the country. $50b in failed shipbuilding programs. $75b if you want to include the Ford. Throw in the F-35C if you can isolate the costs. $100b? Time for some heads to roll.

    9. CNO & Lazarus

      Here's a small wager for you. Dr. Gilmore has retired.

      Would either of you like to place a small bet that the LCS' suitability and effectiveness problems are now at an end?

      How much of your net worth would you like to bet on that proposition, Laz?

    10. If you are going to default to the "Navy leadership is corrupt" meme, then you lose me immediately. My source for the RMS test fail is the LCS program executive office.These folks are professionals and have no financial dog in the fight. Earlier LCS shock testing was just not possible due to the operational requirements for LCS 1 and 3, and other testing requirements for LCS 3 and 4. The purpose of shock testing is to provide feedback for equipment vendors and let them know what tolerances their equipment can support. It is by no means a measurement of "survivability." Shock testing also causes irreparable damage to participants. The USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) suffered permanent damage from shock testing that contributed to her early retirement. MHC 51 (USS Osprey) suffered major cracking as a result of her shock trial. Her whole outer GRP hull covering was cracked and cost big $$$ to repair. She too was retired early and scrapped rather than put up for foreign military sales.

      There were disputes between the navy and DOT&E on the small boat test involving initial engagement ranges and at what range the boats penetrated LCS screen. The boats were still destroyed, but closer than estimated. DOT&E gets fixated on individual data points rather than overall effects. That is not a very "operational" way of doing things.

      Hellfire is sked for testing on board USS Detroit this year.

    11. "The purpose of shock testing is to provide feedback for equipment vendors and let them know what tolerances their equipment can support."

      I had thought that this was part of it, but that part of it was also a test of how well the ship could handle the shock in general. By that I mean the shock testing will test out whether my toughbook can handle the shock, but it will also test out whether the fuel lines or overhead pipes that are integral parts of the ship can handle the shock.

      Did I misunderstand this?

      Wouldn't you want to know that so that if a mine goes off X distance from a ship you will know whether to check fuel lines to make sure there isn't a fast or slow leak dripping fuel onto hot components?

      Not trying to be snarky. Honestly asking.

    12. "If you are going to default to the "Navy leadership is corrupt" meme, then you lose me immediately."

      As you know from reading this blog, I don't "default" to anything. I collect data, analyze, and reach a conclusion (hey, I sound a lot like DOT&E!). If that conclusion is, all too often, that Navy leadership is corrupt or incompetent, well, that's what the data demonstrates. I've also identified a few (sadly, far too few) Navy leaders whose actions have indicated that they are competent and have integrity - Adm. Copeman being the notable example - so I clearly don't have a "default".

      Conversely, if someone "defaults" to a Navy-leadership-can-do-no-wrong meme, I would assume they would lose you immediately?

    13. "My source for the RMS test fail is the LCS program executive office.These folks are professionals and have no financial dog in the fight."

      PEO LCS???? While they may have no direct financial stake in the game, to say or imply that they have no stake in the game is untrue in the extreme. PEO LCS understands that his mission is to put the LCS into the fleet, not to point out negatives. His future promotions are tied directly into that. He could have no larger stake in the game. That's simply a realistic recognition of the "structure" of the organization.

    14. "Earlier LCS shock testing was just not possible due to the operational requirements"

      This is utterly false. The operational requirements are set by the Navy. If they chose to, they could have scheduled the first shock test for the day after LCS-1 was commissioned and then a month later the ship could have gone about its other operations. Do not suggest that the shock test delays were for any reason other than the Navy's very low (non-existent?) priority for shock testing.

    15. "The purpose of shock testing is to provide feedback for equipment vendors "

      Perhaps, in small part. The purpose of shock testing is to evaluate the overall design, equipment, and performance OF THE SHIP when subjected to shock. Nothing more and nothing less. The findings are intended to be fed back into the construction loop for future ships. Delaying shock testing invalidates this, as I pointed out.

    16. "The USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) suffered permanent damage from shock testing "

      You've made a few claims of this nature involving things I've never heard despite following these matters very closely. I'd love to see some references.

    17. "Hellfire is sked for testing on board USS Detroit this year."

      And NSM was tested on LCS-4 in Sep 2014, as I recall but has not been installed on any ship. Hellfire may or may not ever be installed. Many scheduled "things" never happen. I'll repeat, if and when Hellfire is installed, the LCS can, and should, be retested.

      In the meantime, the test results are what they are. The LCS failed 2 out of 5 (7?) tests under the CONDITIONS THE NAVY SET, not DOT&E. DOT&E did not set the ranges. You need to research this if you have any other impression.

      Now, to what I think is your implied point, the "failure" of the LCS in two of the tests does not, by itself, mean the LCS is a complete failure as a ship class. Yes, it's a somewhat disturbing data point for a ship whose primary function (in that test/module guise) is anti-swarm but the ship is, and does, other things. If the ship is able to accomplish enough of those other things successfully, then the overall class assessment would be positive and the substandard ASuW capability can be improved over time (with Hellfire, for example). On the other hand, if enough of the other things are also failures then the class would have to be assessed as a failure. At the moment, there have been far more failures than successes (abandoned/aborted ASW module, poor endurance/range, derated speed, structurally weak flight deck construction, weight margins, stability, many failed MCM components, etc. - you know the list as well as I do). Thus far, the LCS is a failure. Can it be improved enough to be an eventual success? Perhaps. Time will tell.

    18. A comment was removed as disrespectful. All opinions are welcome as long as they are logical and supported by data. For better or worse, the LCS is not only in the fleet but will make up a major portion of the combat fleet. It is in our interest to hear opinions that support the LCS, whether we agree or not, and to try to find ways in which the LCS can be useful - maybe it can be, maybe it can't but we won't know if simply shut down opinions we don't agree with.

      Hmmm, maybe I should do a post about possible beneficial uses for the LCS?

    19. >>beneficial uses for the LCS?

      Florida needs reefs.

    20. If that is truly the extent of your analysis of potential uses for the LCS then you are failing to apply sufficient creative thought and logic. Watch for a future post!

    21. Ouch, that's hurtful, CNO. Soft you, a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know ’t.

      I've spent much time on and below the water in service to this country.

      I've operating with and against the platforms it compares itself to.

      And I can say with confidence this plaftorm has no offensive or defensive value. To the US Navy, that is.

      To the PLA, its a gift.

      Feel free to try to change my mind, but I've logged the time at sea. This dog won't hunt.


    22. "Ouch, that's hurtful, CNO."

      It's not meant to be hurtful, it's meant to be a challenge. Make no mistake, I'm not suggesting that the LCS can be turned into a battleship. It can't. I'm suggesting that we can look for possible combat functions it can fill. Here's one simple and obvious function: a UAV carrier. I've discussed the potential need for a large number of smaller, cheaper UAVs for surveillance and targeting. The LCS could be converted to a UAV carrier with its large modular space converted to hangar and storage space and its flight deck would provide plenty of room to operate and recover UAVs. One such LCS UAV carrier with each surface/carrier/amphibious group might prove useful.

      As I said, look for a future post on the subject!

      Maybe you can think of a possible use? I'll be glad to include a suggestion in the post. If you have the experience you claim (I don't doubt you), you ought to be able to imagine some alternative uses for the LCS. Consider it a blank canvas (and empty shell of a ship) that you can fill with whatever equipment you think would make the ship useful. I'm betting you can think of uses.

    23. CNO,

      As always, I will look forward to reading your article on the subject.

      But, as we've discussed together before, I don't see the evidence for complex tools performing better than simple ones.

      I'd rather see a focus on bringing Speed, Violence, and Mass to the Western Pacific and the IO than yet another exquisite and fragile Concept of Operation(s) and Technologies that the Navy will resist testing anyway. And gundeck any tests they're forced to implement.

      Which was the entire point of your post, was it not? If the Navy wants to behave like Lucy with a football, is it not incumbent on the rest of us to stop behaving like Charlie Brown?

    24. Again, I'm not sure you're grasping what I'm trying to do with this. The LCS is a reality and isn't going anywhere. We can either park them and forget about them or we can attempt to come up with reasonable uses that are within their capabilities. I'm going to offer some possibilities and I invite you to suggest one, as well. If you truly can't come up with one, that's fine. You can wait and read my offerings and see what you think. I'm betting, with your experience, you can come up with a possible use. Nothing will make them front line warships but we may, just may, be able to come up with a use that will allow us to get at least some value out of them. Don't give up instantly just because it's the LCS - at least think about this.

    25. Possible beneficial use?

      I still think there's a need for a ship that could provide against swarms or asymmetric attacks, not sure ASW or MCM are realistic with LCS in it's current form, probably need so many changes, it's not worth it but putting some more hardware on board that actually shoots something that hurts the bad guys should be possible and not too involved. Not really sure what else to do with the LCS without throwing even more money down the drain, could they be just quietly transferred to the Coast Guard? If CG even wanted them?

      I saw your UAV carrier mention, I guess that could be useful,just make sure something protects the LCS because it doesn't sound like it could survive very long on it's own....

    26. "The LCS is a reality and isn't going anywhere. We can either park them and forget about them or we can attempt to come up with reasonable uses that are within their capabilities. "

      First and foremost, we need to figure out a way to stabilize the engineering plant so they stop breaking.
      Okay. I'll bite. :-)

      The biggest strength for the LCS that I can see is the gaping holes of the mission modules, and the fact that its (relatively) cheap and will be bought in numbers.

      We have to stop thinking of the LCS as a Luxury SUV and start thiking of it as a Plymouth Voyager.

      When you have a Plymouth Voyager you don't kvetch because its not an AWD Sienna or an Escalade; and you don't take it on the ski trip to Tahoe or tow your 25 footer with it.

      But, even if you have an Escalade, you don't use it to move your kids out of college. You don't use it to take the 3 dogs to the vet. And you don't use it to pick up the 4 muddy kids at football practice. Those are all things the Voyager can do at less cost and more utility.

      So those are the missions we need for the LCS.

      A) The biggest thing I think the LCS can do in the current peacetime Navy is cruise and get used up. We have a huge backlog of maintenance for our bigger ships and the more LCS' we have out there the less time those ships have to do presence or piracy missions and the more time they have to refit, modernize, and train for high end war. I'm not being snarky about this; I think that's a real, positive contribution that the ships can make to the fleet.

      Assuming that are tied more to their bases than other units, I wonder if there is a possibility of creating a 'quick' LCS tender. Instead of having reps and whatnot tied to a particular port facility, and subject to that nations whims, the tender could maybe take over some of those roles. And you could easily shift the 'home port' of the LCS to wherever the tender was.

      Its cheapness makes it great for these fill in roles. And its mission bays could be used for humanitarian missions that the Navy might run.

      B) If you stick an NSM or LRASM launcher on it, and can get targeting data to it, it might be a convenient missile carrier/alternate target to bigger ships.

      C) MW. If you can get the mine warefare component moving, this is a vital need for the fleet.

      D) CNO's aforementioned UAV carrier.

      E) Intelligence gathering ship. Fill the mission bays with electronic snoopers and have it cruise close to ships we want to find out more about. Or in the South China Sea. Or off shore of some country we want to listen to.

      Finally, and this might be off the wall, but for a full on war against a nation like China.... what about using it as a commerce raider?

      The even class might be particularly good for this with its longer range. It can catch any merchant ship. Put some torpedo launchers on it, or store troops in its mission bays, and it could either threaten to sink, or take over, a merchant ship.

      This might be frowned upon nowadays, but if its a real war, its a real war. And it might play to the LCS strengths of speed, and its need to stay out of the way of more powerful combat vessels.

  5. Bob Work is the LCS and F35 booster. Trump asked him to stay. We can expect DOT&E to get rushed to enable quicker fielding of LCS and F35:
    Decision is "all but a done deal"

  6. A bit off topic, sorry if this skews things too much. But I saw this on my news feed this morning:

    Cause for some hope?

  7. Gilmore is resigning anyway, which suggests he was a political rather than a professional appointment. Hopefully the next DOT&E will not be such an obstacle to progress.

    1. By chance can you provide a link to the article saying Michael Gilmore is retiring or resigning. All I have been finding is about the UK labour party leader Gilmore's plan to resign

  8. The plans to deploy LCS 1 and 3 to the Western Pacific, and the ongoing testing of modular equipment on LCS 2 and 4 left little time to schedule any of the first four ships for a shock. The Navy actually hates shock trials as they can cause significant damage to the ships. My Perry sources are word of mouth, and a class report I read while serving as an FFG 7 CSO in the late 1990's. The results of the MHC 51 shock trials and associated damage is on the web. Some knowledge and information can only be gleaned over decades of active service in the fleet and are not just available on the web for the casual researcher.

    Shock trials usually happen too late to have a significant influence on design. Unlike an aircraft that can be tested as a prototype, warships are too expensive to be built as one-off test platforms. For example, in the case of the DDG 51 class shock trials, the first cost $23m and by the time it was complete 22 follow on units had already been contracted. NSM was merely tested aboard LCS. Hellfire has been approved for installation with Detroit being the first platform.

    1. "My Perry sources are word of mouth"

      That's fine. Of course, there's a hierarchy of "authoritativeness" in documentation, as you well understand. Word of mouth (similar to witness statements that are invariably contradictory) is obviously not as authoritative as, say, photographs or recorded data but it is still valid. I have no problem with it.

      I also have no problem with data that is not on the Internet (though that makes it impossible to verify) or simple experience. Those are completely valid though, again, lower on the hierarchy of documentation.

      Regarding ship damage during shock tests, you'll note that DOT&E agreed with the Navy that the LCS shock tests could be performed at lower than normal charges and that the final test be skipped due to concerns about ship damage. That was quite reasonable of DOT&E. Be sure to give credit where due!

    2. "left little time to schedule"

      All I ask in discussions is objectivity to the extent possible (tough for any of us to be truly, impassively objective!). The lack of time for shock testing was because the Navy did not prioritize it highly enough. It was a choice they made based on their priorities, not a requirement. You may agree or disagree with the Navy's priorities but it was a voluntary choice. That's the objective assessment.

    3. "Hellfire has been approved for installation"

      You understand that I'm not attempting to argue that Hellfire won't be installed? It may well be. I'm pointing out that neither the Navy or DOT&E had any way of including a non-existent weapon in a live-fire test nor any reason to do so until and unless the Hellfire is actually installed.

      For a bit of perspective, you'll recall that the Mk110 57 mm gun was approved for installation on the Zumwalt during the design phase but was later dropped. Approval does not guarantee installation. Plans change. Approved "things" get dropped all the time.

  9. DOT&E is hated because it (and perhaps the GAO as well) are some of the few organizations that expose the dirty truth.

    A lot of people in senior positions are hoping for lucrative jobs in the private sector after retirement. To do that, they have to make the companies rich. DOT&E is one of the few places that prevents that.

    Their job is to ensure that a weapon works as advertised, on spec, with no pressing problems, and on budget. They also need to draw attention to parts that other departments overlooked.

    Someone has to do the oversight. A lot of the hatred is corruption, but also, there's a "shoot the messenger" sort of culture right now in the USN.

  10. The US Army is unfortunately like the US Navy.

  11. A lot of talk about "specs" above. That's a general term and I'm not sure all understand it from a testing perspective.

    Navy DT (IE-developmental test) testers (NAVSEA, NAVAIR, SPAWAR) test systems against established Key Performance Parameters (KPP) the US Navy establishes like ComNav stated.

    On the other hand, Navy Operational Testers (OT-COTF) test systems to system-particular performance parameters called Measures of Performance (MOP), also established by OPNAV, such as speed, payload, range, time-on-station, frequency, or other distinctly quantifiable performance features. Several MOPs may be related to the achievement of a particular Measure of Effectiveness (MOE). Several MOPs may be related to the achievement of a particular Measure of Effectiveness (MOE).

    Thus the technical difference betwixt the two.



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