Monday, November 13, 2017

Lockheed Proposed Frigate

Lockheed Martin recently displayed their US Navy frigate concept at the DSEI trade show in the form of a concept model (1).

The relevant features included:

  • 1x Mk110 57 mm gun
  • 16 cell VLS
  • 16 anti-ship missiles in rack launchers
  • 1x SeaRAM

  • crew=130
  • length=125 m
  • displacement=likely 6000+ tons

That’s a little light for a ship that’s 80% the length of a Burke.  In comparison, the original Perry class frigates had a single arm missile launcher with a magazine of 40 missiles which could include a mix of Standard and Harpoon.  This LCS frigate, with 16 VLS cells is limited to 16 Standard missiles (assuming the VLS length is adequate as suggested by the article), up to 64 quad-packed ESSM, Tomahawks, VL-ASROC, or a mix thereof.

While 64 quad-packed ESSM is quite useful for a frigate size ship that would preclude more capable Standard missiles.  Having anything less than 16 Standards would be just about pointless which probably limits the frigate to the 64 ESSM.  Of course, if any cells are to be used for Tomahawk or, more likely, VL-ASROC, that would cut deeply into the ESSM loadout.  For example, if the ship carried 8 VL-ASROC, as would seem reasonable for an ASW focused frigate, that would only leave 8 cells for a maximum of 32 ESSM.  As I said, for any reasonable and likely mix of missiles, the loadout is a bit light for a ship that’s 80% the size of a Burke.

The crew size of 130 is a recognition by the Navy that its LCS minimal manning and deferred (pier side) maintenance concept is a failure.  It is also quite likely that 130 crew would turn out to be too small. 

The final noteworthy aspect of this is that unless the fundamental structure of the ship is changed, an LCS frigate retains all the inherent weaknesses of the base LCS.  These include stability problems and inadequate stability margins, non-existent weight margins, structural weaknesses, use of aluminum for a ship that is now expected to stand and fight, loud waterjets (a concern in ASW), apparent lack of a hull mounted sonar (due to excessive self-noise in the base LCS), inadequate range/endurance, etc.  To be fair, what was presented was just a simple concept model but it’s hard to believe that all the inherent flaws that make the base LCS such a poor warship can be rectified in a somewhat enlarged frigate version.

Honestly, this is just warmed over LCS crap and compares quite poorly to the many outstanding frigate designs around the world.  I hope the Navy has the sense to walk away from this.  Sadly, given the Navy's history of horrible decisions, I think it's quite likely that you're looking at the winner of the frigate competition.  


(1)Navy Recognition website, 13-Sep-2017,


  1. Wow, 16 Anti ship missiles in racks, why ( are they planning to use Harpoons)?
    They are addopting to modify the LRASM for VLS cells.
    Logic dictates to just add some extra VLS cells instead of specialized rack launchers .
    And that 57mm gun again , at least they should go with a 76mm for a frigate

    1. I suspect that the choice of rack mounted anti-ship missiles is due to a lack of space for additional VLS cells. Look closely at the ship model. The flight deck can't have VLS. VLS can't be mounted on top of the hangar. The bow can't take any more VLS (note the sharply angled hull which severely minimizes below deck room - I bet they had to really work to squeeze in the cells they have there!). That only leaves the top of the superstructure and there's no open, horizontal surface for cells plus, even if there were, mounting heavy VLS cells that high up would cause stability problems. In previous posts, I've documented the Freedom class' zero weight margins and unacceptable center of gravity (stability).

      Simple weight may also be a limiting factor. VLS cells are not light!

      This highlights the underlying poor design of the ship. The hull is sharply angled in which severely reduces internal volume and the very shallow draft causes stability problems since engine and machinery weights are located higher than normal. Also, the oversize superstructure limits the amount of deck space available for weapons and gear mounts.

      Hence, the rack mounted missiles!

      This is truly an attempt to put lipstick on a pig!

      Just as the LCS made a very poor LCS, the LCS will make a very poor frigate. Why would the Navy think that an inherently flawed LCS ship design would somehow make for a good frigate design? That's crazy. But, that's also likely going to be the Navy's choice.

  2. At this point, you have to wonder if even USN/LMT have realized that the LCS is a POS BUT they will never admit to it, so they just warm it up a bit to make believe that is so much better now.....they can't do more because it would pretty much involve a new hull/engine combo and/or new weapon systems, it would really be an admission that the baseline LCS is pretty worthless....

    1. LM isn't offering what they believe to be a good frigate design, they're offering what they can make an easy profit on. That's okay. That's what companies do. It's up to the Navy to recognize that and reject it.

  3. With the state of our acquisition, the curious dropouts of vendors for other programs (OTH Missile, drone tanker), and the desire to leverage 'hot lines' the Navy wrote a spec that we haven't seen that was basically 'LCS with stuff'.

    Depending on the price, the loadout isn't horrible. I mean if you could get it for $500 million and make a million of them....

    but it begs the question(s); how is it going to target all those fancy missiles? Even ESSM unless it's block II ESSM requires better targeting than the LCS seems to have. Also, what is this ships mission? ASW? IT's likely still going to suck at that. 'Presence'? An extra ship in the modern 'battle line' that can fling missiles? A loan modern 'cruiser' that can defend itself and maybe do escort? For varying reasons it doesn't fit any of these well. It's only big advantage is that it is seemingly available sooner.

    To me, in a crappy situation we have 3 options:

    A) Make a Frigate designed for a mission. To me I'd like something that can do real honest to God ASW and defend itself. 64 Block II ESSM would be great if it can target them independently. Some sort of AShM off of racks or something. But we don't want this ship doing Burke Jobs. Just the ability to hunt submarines, defend itself and others against a moderate sized raid, and maybe pop a missile off at another ship if absolutely needed.

    B) See if you can modify the HI 4091 Frigate to do 80% of the above at 80% of the price

    C) I was going to say LCS, but that really isn't an option. It's spending money to get a poor weapon.

    1. "in a crappy situation"

      We're not in a crappy situation unless we make it one. We have the opportunity to pick from a world wide offering of some pretty good frigate designs (my objections to a frigate notwithstanding). All we have to do is pick one, license build it, and we're in great shape. We save all the design and development money and get a proven frigate.

      But, we won't. We'll pick the LCS frigate from a company that has never designed or built a frigate, we'll pay through the nose for design work, it will be astonishingly over budget and behind schedule, and then everyone will wonder what went wrong.

      So many good frigate designs out there! It's only a bad situation if we make it so.

      Instead of holding a competition where we have to choose from just a few bad choices, like we're doing, we should pick a frigate we like from around the world (I wouldn't rule out the Russians - they have some great frigate designs!), write up a spec that only that frigate can meet, then open up a "competition" where our choice is the only possible winner. Alternatively, write the spec so tailored for the frigate we want, that we can justify a sole-source, non-competitive bid acquisition. We do that all the time.

      Again, it's a bad situation only if we make it so ... which we will.

  4. As an addendum to A), that is just my opinion on what is needed. I'm not a Naval expert. I'm fine if they come up with something else so long as its a rational design that really meets a well defined need.

  5. Nico the worst part is that their warmed up LCS is going to be 30% of the 'Burke at 80% of the price.

    1. Oh, on paper the price will be good. They'll low ball the bid then, when they can't meet the price, they'll defer significant portions of construction till after delivery (like we're doing now for the Ford in order to stay under the Congressional cost cap and like we're routinely doing for all ships now), and proudly claim to have a "cheap" frigate. Throw in some Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) that comes from separate accounts that don't show up in the construction budget and break up the contract so that the seaframe is purchased as a separate contract (as was done for the LCS) which you claim is the purchase price (just not for a complete ship but no one looks that closely at these matters) and you can just about manipulate a "free" frigate - on paper.

      Consider that currently the Navy claims that the cost of a LCS is around $400M or so even though the real cost is around $750M and you get the idea about cost claims.

  6. Looks like BAE Systems is interested in the frigate competition. But the Type 26 frigate may have a price tag problem.

  7. Also one would think that a frigate designed for ASW)would be the way to go.

    1. Spot on. Obvious to you and me but not to the Navy!

  8. Experts question the navy's ideas for a new frigate.

    1. Sorry, wrong link above...

    2. I generally discourage posting links without some value-added analysis. What is your opinion? Agree/disagree with the article? Give me some analysis!

    3. I agree with the article but with the exception that it avoids discussing CONOPS design for the frigate. I agree with the concept of a ASW centric design.

    4. Okay, so, very briefly, what is the concept of operations for a US Navy frigate? How will a frigate be of use in a war with China? Russia? NKorea? Iran?

    5. The frigate would come under the umbrella of a CONOPS for ASW. But it should be designed for ASW.From what I've read our potential adversaries are expanding there submarine fleets.

  9. I do agree with Bryan Clark's analysis in this article but there is no mention of a ASW centric design.

  10. A frigate designed for ASW should have torpedo tubes. A feature this design sorely lacks.

  11. It looks like:

    - a hull cut + 15 meter-long hull-extension installed just ahead of the forward engine room, with the incremental weapons in the forward half & incremental crew/habitability in the aft.

    - Propulsion unchanged

    - Semi-planing hull now pointless. It won't plane.

    - Top speed < 22 kts. Efficiency horrific. Range KPP won't improve. Very hard ride for the crews.

    - How Not To Design A Ship.

    - This is a disaster and completely useless for ASW.

    1. So ... I'll mark you down as undecided?

  12. I can't see how the hydrodynamics work. Maybe someone smarter than me can work it out and share with us, but this monstrosity seems divorced from physics and acoustics.

    There's no way an honest evaluation of this bolted-together collection of incompatible design ideas could be found operationally effective or suitable.

    Worrisome. Very worrisome. But consistent.

  13. I really hope they don't select any LCS knockoff I'm really warning to the T26 of Fremm derivative manufactured in the US with US weapons should not be that hard for the T26 seeing as as it's being outfitted with the mk45 gun and 24 mk41 VLS from the start just substitute the sea captor with ESSM and SeaRam and you have a very capable frigate that more than likely is just as affordable as this LCS knockoff

    1. How does the Type 26 compare to, say, a Burke in terms of size (length, width, displacement)? And how does it compare in terms of armament?

      If the Type 26 were 90% of the length of a Burke but only 50% of the armament, to make up an example, that would likely be an expensive and poor option.

      Check it out and let me know what you find.

    2. South Korea's Incheon-class frigate is another option. The batch 2 ships displace 3,600 tonnes, can make 30 knots, has a 5-inch gun, a 16 cell VLS, space for 2 racks of missiles, plus a Phalanx and 21-cell RAM launcher. She can carry a single medium helicopter.

      According to Wiki, they go for $232 million.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. The T26 is roughly 6900 tonnes she is also about the same as a Burke in length and width she is a specialized ADS platform with both a bow and towed sonar doesn't have torpedoes at present used helicopter up to Chinook size for sub hunting and destruction has an adaptable mission bay that can be used for humanitarian and military missions she also usnt cheap with a price around 1.2 billion this largely due to the number being built only 8 currently she uses the same propulsion as the T23 to help lower cost if we could overcome the "Not invented here" syndrome she would make a fine frigate and one that we could most likely get at a much lower cost we would have to build it here of course the Brits are really wanting foreign customers in this one and we really need some thing like her not another LCS piece of crap

    1. Meant to say she is specialized for ASW phone does not like my typing

    2. To continue with the T26 specs she is actually 149.9 meters long range at 15 knots 7000 miles crew 118 with acomidation up to 208 so she doesn't not have near the crew size as a AB she is roughly the same size as a early AB which Im surprised is now up to 10000 plus tonnes in it's flight 3 configuration

  16. I just read an article dated 16 Sept in defense news that mentioned the RFI for the FFGX as requiring 32 VLS at a minimum something again the T26 could easily do and the LCS can not possibly hope to accomplish has anyone read this in the RFI

    1. The RFI does not cite any particular VLS cell size. You can read the RFI for yourself. It's linked in the previous post, here

    2. That is exactly what I was thinking just refferd to as a VLS along with ESSM and Sm2 capabilities although I personally would live to see 24-32 VLS cells it isn't specific in the number of cells required

  17. My understanding of the current FFG(X) state of play, confused and open to manipulation, appears heavily weighted in favor of LCS frigates.

    The USN solicitation of October 16 for the Guided Missile Frigate FFG(X) Conceptual Design, updated October 20 and again November 17 for the competitive solicitation intended for release in November 2017. Industry Day will be held on Friday, 17 November 2017.

    Navy intends to build the FFG(X) to a modified version of an existing ship design—an approach called the parent-design approach. “In order to be eligible for CD [conceptual design], offerors must have a parent design from which to start. A parent design is defined as a design of a ship that has been through production and demonstrated (full scale) at sea."

    So CD phase will be limited to both LCS classes, NSC and perhaps the French and Italian FREMM versions plus the Danish Iver Huitfeldt, no new British Type 26, Italian PPA, French FTI, Japanese 30DX and others.

    Responses to the RFP are due by December 18, 2017

    "The Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition to select the builder of the FFG(X), including proposals based on either U.S. or foreign ship designs. The Navy wants to award multiple conceptual design contracts for the program in FY2018—a November 3, 2017, press report states that the Navy expects to award up to five contracts24—and a detailed design and construction (DD&C) contract for the program in FY2020. Being a recipient of a conceptual design contract is not a requirement for competing for the DD&C contract"

    Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress Ronald O'Rourke Specialist in Naval Affairs November 9, 2017

    Though Navy limiting ships eligible for CD contract awards to parent-design, it does not stop other ship designs eg Type 26, competing for the main Detailed Design and Construction, DD&C in FY2020, though they will have to fund it themselves.

    1. Yes, the Navy seems to be emphasizing modification of an existing design which, as you suggest, is certainly setting the LCS up for selection.

      On the other hand, one could make a valid argument that the LCS is not an existing frigate-parent ship any more than a Nimitz carrier is. Hey, I can take that Nimitz-parent, shave 90,000 tons off, add some VLS, and I've got a frigate!

      What I'm saying is that if the LCS is a valid frigate-parent then so, too, is almost anything. A Burke could be just as valid a parent design (just need to downsize it a bit) or an Ambassador class missile boat could be just as valid a parent as an LCS.

      I think the parent concept is an attempt to avoid another LCS, brand new design fiasco. On the one hand, that's a reasonable approach to minimizing developmental costs but, on the other hand, that's an admission that the Navy is incapable of managing a ship design program which would give it the ship that would be ideally suited for the Navy's needs. Any modification of a parent design will, by definition, be a compromise between what the Navy wants and what the parent is. The compromise may be acceptable or it may not. It's truly disappointing that the Navy now admits it can't manage a new ship design program.

    2. ...While hand-waving away the likelihood that the superficially similar design has intractable scale-related problems associated with it.

      Not like it hasn't happened before on subscale or non-production conforming prototypes when they were scaled up (either in dimension or mass)

      But lets relearn what we already know. What else is there to do before the next naval defeat?

  18. Correction to date, should read November 7, not 17.

    The USN solicitation of October 16 for the Guided Missile Frigate FFG(X) Conceptual Design, updated October 20 and again November 7 for the competitive solicitation intended for release in November 2017. Industry Day will be held on Friday, 17 November 2017.

  19. While it doesnt eliminate the T26 it certainly makes it difficult to win the competition the good side is the T26 is currently under construction with 2 ships out of 3 currently ordered I really only hope the navy does not repeat does not include any LCS derivative so I'm behind the Fremm and the Legend class both are 10x better than any LCS design

  20. How much is this 'thing' ,I can't call it a frigate, cost? If you have a look at the specifications for the Babcock Arrowhead 120 contender for the Type 31e frigate for the RN it outclasses this travesty in several respects, and it is supposed to come in at £250 million a ship. I know our procurement system is rubbish, but yours seems to have lost the plot completely.

  21. Price for the 3 ships of the T26 is 3.9 billion pounds quite expensive ship for sure I read in CNBC the total for 20 ships is expected to be about 15 billion total if that helps

    1. That was for the entire FFGX program whoever wins the contract

  22. The LM version is quite strange. Doesn't even have a towed sonar. Austal displayed theirs back in April, and it seems to be a bit more comprehensive than the LM version mentioned above. There's no mention of the engines used, so might imply no change in the short range of the LCS, and no change in the aluminium used.


    1. RFI requires BOTH a towed array AND a variable depth sonar as well as Nixie. But not a hull sonar. Because they know it's worthless on an LCS based hull.

  23. Well I'm stumped I've been looking at the Huntington Ingalls proposal for the FFGX specifically the ffg4923 project it's actually quite impressive (at least on paper) and would fulfill the FFGX requirement quite nicely if it could add 8 more VLS cells to the 16 already in the proposal would like to know your thoughts Anonymous Thanks

  24. "CNO length=125 m / displacement=likely 6000+ tons"

    Mic of Orion quotes length 127 m / 4,500 tonnes
    FFG-X - US Navy’s Next Hi-tech Frigate

    LCS 5 Naval Architectural Limit 3,550 tonnes, so lengthening 8.4 m from 118.6 m to 127 m adds ~ 1,000 tonnes

    "GD [BIW] confirmed Wednesday it plans to submit a conceptual design proposal – the submission deadline is Dec. 18

    Inside Defense, reports that BIW is among six companies to express interest in the design contract. BIW ‘parent design’ based on an existing hull form that already has been in active service will be provided by its partner, Navantia, a ship designer based in Madrid, Spain, that specializes in frigate designs.

    According to the CRS report, the Navy wants each frigate to cost no more than $950 million"

    BIW FFG(X) may be based on either the Navantia Norwegian 2006 Nansen FLD 5,290 tonnes or the troubled Navantia Australian Hobart FLD 6,250, EOL 7,000 tonnes, commissioned last September so just qualifies as has been in active service.


    1. Nick, note that the 6000+ ton figure is not mine - it's from the article. Also, note that the Navy is looking to add quite a bit of equipment over and above what the LCS currently has. Thus, the "starting" weight of the LCS in any calculation is going to be much higher than the current weight and any hull extension will carry more proportional weight than the current hull. Thus, 6000+ tons is probably not unreasonable.

    2. Further thoughts on 6,000+ ton quoted displacement, back of envelope calc.
      A cubic meter of water has a mass of one metric ton.
      The LM LCS LOA 118.6 m (389 feet), overall beam of 17.5 m (57 feet) and draft of 4.1 m (13.5 feet).
      To achieve a 6,000+ ton displacement an increase of 2,500 tons required from present 3,550 MT would need ~ 35 m ( insert. (17.5 x 4.1 x 35 = 2,511.25 ), that would result in a ship length of ~ 154+ m (505+ feet).

      If calc. vaguely in right ballpark don't think 6,000 MT version of the LM LCS ship feasible, 4,500 MT would require 13+ m insert, LOA 132+ m (433+ feet).

      Expect I'm missing something.

    3. Nick watched the I tube video found it interesting in that only ship that meets the requirements "perfectly" was the T26 besides that a lot of LCS stuff still the T26 is a long shot at best cost being the main objection I really hope it ends up being not yet another version of LCS is about all I can say

    4. I doubt Navantias design would be based on either the Nansen, or the Hobart, but rather Spain's F100-105 class ships, which would be ideal candidates,IMHO, as they already have Aegis and use largely US kit and weapons in general.They already carry half the gear the RFI specs out. It already looks like a cousin to the Burke's as it is, and uses LM 2500 series engines out of the gate. Minimal adaption required, and would include ALL requests in the RFI, which neither LCS based ship does.

      Starting at 5600 tons, with a 28.5 knot speed at 4500 nm and 48 VLS it hits the sweet spot in my book, and is the design I hope wins. Neither the FREMM or Type 26 will have the same VLS capacity or anti-air capability, and it's the one design that can fit a full weapon load and would have a proper mix, if they can stretch 16 cells to strike length for a mix of 16 SM-2 , 32 ESSM, 8 ASROC and 16 strike length (amidships?), for cruise or LRASM, the second generation of which is expected to be dual role against either land based or maritime targets. It's perfect. The Navantia bid with Bath Iron Works & General Dynamics is the one that I'm excited about that has the easiest path to adapt to the RFI and one that won't break the bank like the Fremm, or "troubled" Hobart would. It even looks like a proper ship, and is the basis for the Hobart, and the Nansen, and is a proven design with a long and successful serviced record. I'm just amazed that with the rfi requirements laid out so clearly this
      bid is attracting more attention or support, it's THE best fit for the RFI as issued, and delivers on obvious upgrade options as well, lie a 5" as opposed to 57mm gun, a bow sonar and torpedo tubes. if they DON'T want them, then, well, there's your "Trade space". The design is a winner.

      Suggested parent design:

      Post script: Also intriguing is the idea of ththe F100 class suxccesor, the F110, being used as a parent design,with it's stealth capabilities, silent running design, high end EMCON, and ability to accept mission module payload like the Absolon class, complete with loading ramp.

    5. Interesting. I hadn't considered the F100. After reviewing the specs on it, my concern is that it's a mini-Burke. It doesn't seem to have a specialization. It's a bit of everything and nothing well. To some extent, that's the definition of a frigate.

      The problem is that we don't need mini-Burkes. We have big Burkes. What we need is ASW and this ship does not appear to be optimized for that (single helo, ?acoustic isolation?, Prairie/Masker?, etc.). Yes, it could do it to some degree but do we really want to build and risk a $1B+ ship on ASW?

      This ship is 94% the size of a Burke with 50% of the capability and, using Wiki numbers, 60% of the cost which, by the time the Navy gets done screwing with it, will probably be close to 100% of the cost. It's a mini-Burke.

      I get the impression that you're looking for something that packs as much capability as possible into a hull just a bit smaller than a Burke. We already have too many billion dollar ships. We need to pack as LITTLE equipment into as SMALL a hull as will meet the need - the need being ASW.

      We need a cheap, small, ASW frigate.

      Of course, as a parent vessel, nothing says the ship has to retain Aegis, or any of the other equipment it currently has.

    6. Navantia are currently designing the new F110 frigate designed to replace their Santa Maria (OHP/FFG7) class. It will be larger and include 24 VLS cells for SM-2 and ESSM, using the LM IAFCL, Integrated Aegis Fire Control Loop, to control Aegis and SM-2's while integrating with the Spanish SCOMBA CMS. The ability to use SM-2 is just what is specified in the FFG(X) RFI.

      One of the design priorities for the F110 is the inevitable issue of cutting back on operating costs, crew size, analyzing different ways that allow reduction of the ship complement, compared with FFG and F-100 frigates, which has a direct impact in the procurement cost, decreasing the cost of the life cycle and in the displacement with less accommodation areas on board. Using new technologies allow ship designs with a higher degree of automation and unmanned systems on board, capable of conducting some of the tasks that traditionally the crew would have to perform and designs involved that will at least not require the permanent attention of crew.

      Due to the Navy nonsensical decision to only allow only parent design ships currently at sea for the FFG(X) Conceptual Design contracts they are missing out on the new generation of frigates, eg Type 26 and the Navantia F110 with lower operating costs and will be building new "old" frigates when the rest of the worlds navies will have moved on.

      A classic example is the new Korean Aegis KDX-III Batch II destroyers, 11,000 tons and 128 VLS cells with a requirement for a crew size of 200 sailors for the Batch II. That's almost half of the Batch I Sejong the Great-class, based on the DDG-51, crew complement. Compares to the AB Flight III's with a crew size of 300 plus. Guesstimate Navy's additional personnel operating costs through life of ship, 100 sailors at $50,000 per year incl'd training, retirement etc, 30 years and 20 ships total $3 billion over and above what Korea will be funding.

      No wonder the Navy complains of shortage of funding, they don't help themselves by leveraging modern ship design.

    7. "No wonder the Navy complains of shortage of funding, they don't help themselves by leveraging modern ship design."

      I think this is a huge mistake that modern navies are making. The push to minimize ship operating costs, meaning crew size, is a search for fool's gold. Operating costs matter only in peacetime and navies are built for war.

      The number one attribute of successful damage control throughout history is numbers of crew. Large crews make for successful damage control. There is no point to designing a ship to be operable by a single crewman if that results in losing multi-billion dollar ships in combat due to ineffective damage control.

      On a similar note, the ability to continue fighting when hit is dependent on having sufficient extra crew to absorb the inevitable crew attrition, replace critical stations, and tend the wounded. Again, minimizing operating costs only to see a ship mission killed because of a single casualty is pointless. The LCS is the classic example of this. The LCS lacks sufficient crew to even operate the ship safely and reliably in peacetime. What will happen when the LCS encounters combat and suffers even a few casualties? The ship will be helpless due to insufficient crew size.

      Operating costs are an artifact of attempting to run the Navy like a business case. Business and combat are incompatible. Combat requires gross excesses of crew, fuel, munitions, etc.

      Well, you may say, when combat comes we'll just add more crew - problem solved! No. You can't add crew to a ship that isn't built for it. Consider the LCS. It was built with only a very limited berthing, galley, food and water storage, and heads capacity. It can't accommodate more than a very, very small increase in crew size and any increase, no matter how small, will cut into the ship's endurance because the food and water (among other factors) stores will be depleted faster.

      Further, high tech, modern ships can't be suddenly manned by brand new draftees. They simply can't operate these high tech, computerized, technological marvels of shipbuilding. There's something to be said for less advanced ships!

      Yes, we could design a frigate to run with one crew member but even a trash basket fire would sink the ship. A bit of hyperbole but it makes the point.

      Combat is not business.

      How do we pay for more crew? Well, it starts by spending the funds we have wisely. Suppose we had not embarked on the LCS path? That's a LOT of money that would have been available for additional crew across all ships. Suppose we had not proceeded with the abortion of the F-35? Gobs more money? We spent $25B on the Zumwalt program and have what to show for it? A ship with no ammo for its main gun and, because of that, no purpose for the ship. That's $24B for more crew. Suppose we had built more Nimitz's instead of Fords? That's around $7B per carrier that would be available for more crew. I can keep going but I think I've made my point. The Navy has plenty of money if they spend it wisely.

  25. I find it unlikely that a 8.4 m hull extension could support 2,500 mt increase, 1,000 mt more realistic, though against that the Freedom semi-planning hull resistance at nearly three times than a standard hull at normal speeds would require substantial increase in fuel tonnage to meet RFI minimum requirement of 3,000 nm @ 16 knots. We will see:)


  26. Highlights on FFG(X) PM515 CD RFP Industry Day Brief 17 November pdf

    "FFG(X) Program Schedule 
    • Conceptual Design Proposals due: 18 December 2017 at 1300 
    • Award is expected late 2nd QTR FY18 
    • Period of Performance is 16 months from award 

    Purpose of the CD Phase 
    • Mature parent designs* to produce the most cost effective and capable designs to meet FFG(X) requirements 
    • Promote competition through multiple awards 
    • Reduce program risk for DD&C; particularly with regard to the integration of warfare system elements and cyber architecture *Parent Design is a ship design that has been through production and demonstrated (full scale) at sea 

    • Is targeting Basic Construction Cost (BCC) of $495M
    ─ Does not include cost of non-recurring construction plans and other associated costs for a lead ship, Government furnished combat or weapon systems, or Change orders

    FFG(X) Top Level Requirements 
    Acoustic Signature Management 
    Vertical Launch System 
    Service Life Allowance
    *Threshold and Objectives values are found in the System Specification "

    Thoughts on above :-

    $495 million basic construction cost, assume equivalent to LCS Seaframe cost, depends on what is classified as GFE. FY2018 budget request for the procurement of two LCSs for a combined estimated cost of $1,136.1 million, $568 million each.

    The top level requirements, Acoustic Signature Management, Range and Service Life Allowance would seem to weigh against either the LM LCS Freedom or Austal Independence frigates proposals.

    Left with HII NSC/FF4923 4,675t, GD BIW Navantia F100 Alvaro de Bazan Class 5,800t or F-310 Nansen Class 5,290t and Fincantieri FREMM 6,900t.

    If serious about Acoustic Signature Management the FREMM would be my favorite as the only ship with Hybrid propulsion and Fincantieri's ability and expertise to meet cost cap with their commercial knowhow rather than GD BIW or HII, they both lost out to the commercial shipbuilder Eastern Shipbuilding FL for the new USCG OPC contract. 

    You need diesel-electric gearless propulsion to reach the lowest radiated noise levels with single-stage resilient engine generator mounting as an effective standard solution for addressing structure-borne noise, a double-stage resilient mounting system with intermediate raft doubles the attenuation efficiency and engine enclosures as with Type 26, a dedicated ASW frigate.

    1. I'm afraid you're setting yourself up for a major disappointment! I think you're reading way too much into some of the "requirements". For example, the range in the RFI was given as around 3000 nm, as I recall. Unless it was raised in this document (which I haven't been able to view yet), the LCS still fits quite nicely. Similarly, acoustic management could mean anything from "don't use incredibly noisy waterjets to a full treatment of acoustic isolation mounts for ALL machinery - not just engines -, hull shaping to minimize flow noise, Prairie/Masker, etc. So, again, that doesn't rule out the LCS. Similarly, service life allowance is something all ships have - some more, some less - including the LCS. The Navy accepted very small margins for service life allowance, weight margins, stability margins, etc. on the original LCS so there is no reason why they wouldn't do so again. The Navy repeatedly demonstrates a remarkable inability to learn from past mistakes!

      Finally, you're overlooking the fact that the Navy has already been through one round of evaluating other frigate designs and settled on the LCS as the basis. We can criticize that round but there's no getting around the fact that, for whatever reason, the Navy seems determined to keep the LCS!

      Now, recognize that I'm not arguing for the LCS. I'm dead set against it! I'm just pointing out that nothing I've seen, so far, precludes the LCS and my assessment is that the LCS will be the Navy's choice. I hope I'm wrong!

    2. I expect your right (:

      PS Industry Day Brief accessed via

    3. Regarding cost, the Navy can "target" any cost they want but history says they won't even come close. Recall that the LCS target was $200M?

      So, take that $495M "basic" cost and double it cause the Navy is always way, way off. Then add around $400M for GFE (the Enterprise radar alone is reported around $180M+) and we're looking at around $1.4B which is probably a decent estimate.

      The Navy makes me laugh with their cost targets. They may as well say the target cost is "free" cause it has just as much chance of happening as $495M.

    4. CNO "we're looking at around $1.4B"

      The Justification Book total budget of $14.4B for ten ships, plus Conceptual Design $0.7B plus R&D of ~ $0.8B , total $15.9 B, Navy currently budgeting total $1.6+ per FFG.

      For comparison AB Flight III JB total budget showing $4.4B for two ships under "To Complete" years, so AB ~$2.2B verse ~$1.4B for FFG.

      Figures taken from:-
      CRS, Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress Ronald O'Rourke Specialist in Naval Affairs November 9, 2017,
      FFG(X) Program Funding, based on Navy briefing on FFG(X) program given to CRS and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) September 20, 2017. R&D funding is located in PE 0603599N Frigate Development and for FY2016 only, PE 0603581 LCS.

      Total spend FY2016/22 R&D $620M, Procurement FY2019/22 $5,072M, Qty FY2020/22 4 ships

      DOD FY2018 Budget Estimates May 2017 Navy Justification Book Shipbuilding and Conversion, Volume 1-155 from FY2020 for FFG

      Total spend FY2020/22 plus to complete $14,420M for 10 ships including Outfitting and Post Delivery.

      Notes on detailed figures, not shown as bust 4,096 characters limit on posting :)
      CRS show spend of $655M in FY19 for Procurement, presume that is the budget for Conceptual Design Proposals contracts, not included in JB Shipbuilding and Conversion budget.
      CRS shows total R&D to FY22 of $620M, assuming three more years at $70M for the additional 6 ships at 2 per year $830M, R&D also not included in JB Shipbuilding and Conversion budget.
      CRS excludes Outfitting and Post Delivery costs, included in JB.
      JB only shows 10 ships, not planned 20.
      JB anomaly in FY22 Outfitting and Post Delivery cost of only $126M for two ships whilst all other years that's average per ship.

  27. A question would a mature design be something like the T26 which in the process of building or would it be something that's already commissioned and in the water just curious is all not referring a preference to any one particular design just,as long as it's not a LCS knockoff

    1. The requirement is for a parent design that has been produced and operated at sea. The Type 26 is excluded from consideration.

    2. Thanks for the clarification much appreciated

  28. Here comes an option, possibly better.

    BIW has submitted its concept to FFG(X), teaming with Navantia. Apparently, The base-model should be the mini-Aegis frigates Navantia has built. There are two possible:

    1. F100 frigates: 6500tons, equipped with Aegis/SPY-1D radar, MK-41 VLS x 48. Serviced in Spanish navy (5) plus Royal Royal Australian (1 + 2)

    Those mini-Aegis frigates have greater capacity and survivability than the exist two LCS models.

    2. Fridtjof Nansen class in Norwegian navy. 5300ton, equipped with SPY-1(F)/MK-41x8(the actual capacity is 32).

    Comparing the European competitors (FREMM/Type 45), those Navantia mini-Aegis frigates are closer to US system since they were designed around US made Aegis combat systems and weaponry.

    1. Nick and ShermansWar discussed this in previous comments.

  29. I just read an article that stated the navy is looking at spending around 800 to 950 million per copy and has requested for proposals to be submitted in December does this sound reasonable or feasable

    1. It's a ABC report quoting the AP

    2. The report is correct. Of course, the Navy wishes for lots of things, most of which don't happen. Recall that the Navy wanted the LCS to cost $200M. What the Navy wants the frigate to cost is immaterial. It will cost what it costs and the Navy will poorly manage the program and drive costs up.

    3. You read my mind Iv also read it could up to 1.2 billion for that much we could buy almost any of the European high end frigates

    4. Of course the Flight III Burkes are considerably higher topping the 2 billion Mark last Iv heard

  30. Ok my friend that covers the Canadian ship business just posted on facebook that you guessed it Locheed Martin is proposing the T26 for that countries new frigate along with BAE among other contractors if they were that confident in the Freedom class why wouldn't they be proposing instead of the Brit design it's getting interesting and I'm hoping the end of all LCS knockoff proposals

  31. A weapons question if you don't mind I recall the ASROC system as having a old box launcher in the past could ASROC be configured to be launched from canisters much like the Harpoon and multiple other systems do if that is possible then a 8 canister mounted ASROC align with 8 anti ship plus the 16 cell VLS most likely would be quite a loadout would you not think just a question not suggesting anything ConNavAps

    1. As I understand it (and I could be wrong!), the old box-launched ASROC was unguided. It just flew a ballistic path from the launcher. It was aimed by train and elevation of the launcher. Assuming that's true, a cannister ASROC, being unguided and unable to train or elevate, could not be aimed so, no, it would not work.

      Presumably, the VL-ASROC is guided since it has no train/elevation. Thus, a VL-ASROC might be suitable for cannister launch.

      What ship did you have in mind for such an arrangement?

    2. Wasn't thinking about any ship in particular was just curious but if it's the LCS spinoff crap then maybe the canister launch ASROC in 8 of the 16 canisters instead of the anti shp missiles would be more useful or any ship that,has canisters for that matter

  32. One thing to consider also though I don't like it the Saudis recently purchased 4 of the Freedom class multi mission class ships what's to say that our navy simply won't continue building 20 more of them for us Yikes!!!

    1. Given the Navy's history of poor decisions I think it's quite likely that we'll choose the LCS as the new "frigate" just as they did during the last "frigate" selection process. I strongly suspect that the current competition is just a sham to placate Congress.

    2. I think you are very right there sad to say


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