The two Littoral Combat Ship variants, LCS-1 Freedom (far) and LCS-2 Independence (near).

The two Littoral Combat Ship variants, LCS-1 Freedom (far) and LCS-2 Independence (near).

WASHINGTON: Talk about timing. As Congress gears up to grill Navy officials on the much-criticized Littoral Combat Ship program, the fleet’s first LCS suffered yet another power outage that “briefly” shut down its engines near Singapore, where the USS Freedom recently deployed for its first foreign tour. [Click here for the Navy's detailed official explanations]. Freedom had three prior electrical outages in March.

“Sydney, this is ludicrous,” fumed naval historian and LCS critic Norman Polmar. “It’s a relatively simple ship and we can’t get it right. There’s something wrong with the whole approach, the whole program, and it needs to be reviewed at a much higher level,” he said, preferably by a blue-ribbon panel of experts from outside the Navy Department: “It can’t be left in the hands of the people running the program, Navy and civilian.”

“I hate to tell you ‘we told you so’,” said Ben Freeman, who led the charge against LCS at the Project On Government Oversight, POGO. (Freeman is now the national security advisor at Third Way, a centrist Democratic thinktank). “We were talking about these problems two years ago, and we were told at the time …. all this has been dealt with, from the equipment failures to the cracking.”

The Littoral Combat Ship has come under heavy fire for years from two different directions. Good-government watchdogs, like Freeman, say the program has been badly managed, with major cost overruns and quality-control problems, from hull cracking on the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine Freedom variant to corrosion on the General Dynamics/Austal Independence. (The two contractors are building distinctly different designs).

Comments

  • Don Bacon

    Speaking to the second issue, whether the LCS is a good idea, I was puzzled by Admiral Greenert’s recent statements. Being a ground guy, I’m out of my element on naval strategy, but still — the strategy should make sense to everyone and not only to sailors. Greenert’s response to questions about LCS survivability made no sense. Admiral Greenert:

    There isn’t really even an Arleigh Burke that I would say you just go anywhere — anywhere in the world and you will be able to encounter all kind of threats.

    I don’t know of any [surface ships] right now where you can say you can go out there and be very much on your own in all threat environments. My point is, we have to be vigilant and smart where we deploy this ship, and that includes understanding its survivability capabilities.

    We believe that they should be built to operate and, if damaged in combat, to survive and then to withdraw, if you will. That’s the design from the very beginning. They have been built and tested to that level, and so far, I’m satisfied with that.

    US Navy: The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, and networked surface combatant, optimized for operating in the littorals.

    Obviously the LCS is designed to operate, not in fleets, but independently in shallow waters. But according to Greenert “There isn’t really even an Arleigh Burke that I would say you just go anywhere.” So “we have to be vigilant and smart where we deploy this ship” and even so the LCS is “built to operate and, if damaged in combat, to survive and then to withdraw, if you will.”

    So don’t go just anywhere with the LCS, and if you do take some cruise missile warheads or large-caliber direct fire, not to worry, just withdraw.

    • Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

      “Obviously the LCS is designed to operate, not in fleets, but independently in shallow waters” — that’s actually not correct. Sure, a solo Littoral Combat Ship might do counter-piracy or port visits, just like any other naval vessel, but for actual combat, I’ve always heard about LCS operating in squadrons or wolfpacks, even back when what was then called “Streetfighter” was just a gleam in the eye of the late Adm. Art Cebrowski.

    • Kevin Crotte

      I would say what he is talking about is the difference between a bullet proof vest and an armored tank. Obviously the armored tank gives you a lot more protection, but we cant have them everywhere and they are not right for every situation (and even they are vulnerable to certain attacks). While a bullet proof vest may offer much much less “survivability” to similar class weapons…it still is enough to often let the wearer survive to “Live to fight another day”
      As far as weather or not the LCS program has created a functional or cost effective boat, that is a different story….but thats my interpretation of the meaning behind Admiral Greenerts comment.

      • Eric Johnson

        Great example there! Smaller ships will likely receive a higher percentage of damage from the same warhead and that means a higher chance of being put out of commission.

    • http://defense.aol.com/ Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

      “Obviously the LCS is designed to operate, not in fleets, but independently in shallow waters” — that’s actually not correct. Sure, a solo Littoral Combat Ship might do counter-piracy or port visits, just like any other naval vessel, but for actual combat, I’ve always heard about LCS operating in squadrons or wolfpacks, even back when what was then called “Streetfighter” was just a gleam in the eye of the late Adm. Art Cebrowski.

      • Don Bacon

        What we need, what I’ve been ‘fishing’ for, is something in a document that describes how this ship would be employed in combat. (We know that it’s great for showing the flag in foreign ports.)

        This is from a Feb 2012 doc:

        This relatively small, high-speed surface combatant complements the U.S. Navy’s Surface Fleet by operating in environments where it is less desirable to employ larger, multi-mission ships. LCS can deploy independently to overseas littoral regions, remain on station for extended periods of time either with a battle group or through a forward-basing arrangement and is capable of underway replenishment.

        http://www.dtic.mil/descriptivesum/Y2013/Navy/stamped/0603581N_4_PB_2013.pdf

        Do you have something in a document on wolfpacks that you’ve “always heard about?”

      • Don Bacon

        Streetfighters — not for everyone

        Expendability was one of the foundations of the Streetfighter concept: the Navy could put these ships at risk since, if one were lost , the Navy lost only a small fraction of the aggregate combat power inherent in the distributed Economy B fleet. In their article on rebalancing the fleet, Cebrowski and Hughes called for the Streetfighter /Economy B force to “cost less than 10% as much as Economy A, comprise more than 25% of total numbers, and be expected to suffer most of the combat losses in littoral warfare.”

        This line of thinking was controversial. Many in the Navy were unhappy with the idea of a “ship designed to lose.”

        http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/docUploaded/Case%207%20LCS.pdf

        Still searching for “wolfpack.”

        • tesmith47

          what is being hinted at is that for now and the foreseeable future our empire will be shooting at 3rd world countrys that have no real military infrastructure or capability.
          and this is probably true jsut look at the last 50 years.

          • tim

            go away, dingbat

      • acceptreality

        You are correct. Modern war systems reach maximum effectiveness from phased-array technology, which comes from multiple platforms working together.

    • Don Bacon

      I wonder if Greenert has read the DOTE Report of last December.

      LCS is not expected to be survivable in that it is not expected to maintain mission capability after taking a significant hit in a hostile combat environment.
      This assessment is based on a review of LCS design requirements, which do not require the inclusion of the survivability features necessary to conduct sustained operations in its expected combat environment. DOT&E’s review of the Navy’s draft Detail Design Integrated
      Survivability Assessment Reports has not changed this assessment.

      • Chris Herz

        That’s OK, the contractors will build us another and we can find plenty of unemployed to man it.

    • lucitee

      The radical extremists who patiently waited, blended in, built a life in the USA, and “loved their neighbors” up to a decade before they tore our world apart on 9/11! The “hatchlings’ STAYED here, blended in, built a life, loved their neighbors, and are STILL “tearing” us apart in covert ways that would take an expert to detect it! When you have mutant elements crawling all over our Nation, in our Government, Washington, AND especially in our White House and this Administration NOTHING is safe! These people are much better trained than ANY of our Armed Forces because THEY are not bothered with silly things like principles, morals, compassion and decency!
      Violence and revolution is all they want or KNOW! How has our entire planet changed in just half a decade? Free and democratic Nations are being systematically destroyed, innocents murdered, invasion of heartless sub-humans who revel in Christian annihilation and peace obliteration! Our Country is becoming bound AND controlled by the same elements that initiated 9/11! We have “assumed” that a gentle smile or handshake denotes a peace-loving, compassionate soul! A rattle snake will smile at you RIGHT before he strikes! TRUST but VARIFY”! We didn’t verify before we trusted and that’s why we are being destroyed! It was mapped out, planned, decades ago! Now they’re using the same strategy from 9/11 but with a lot more support, accommodation, and MONEY! OURS! We’ve been much too complacent and naïve to notice it!

      • tesmith47

        dont be silly, the american empire has made people hate america, all empires do that. if we dont want folks hating us we need to stoop acting like an empire and stop screwing up other country s.

        • bjreg3

          Hate to tell you, but many more people hate the US and many nations don’t respect us at all in the last 5 years! We are the paper tiger, nothing more with bloviating politicians and a lying presidential group.

          • Halifax Resolves

            Our current president is viewed with contempt by most of the world, but 50% of those in this nation still view him favorably. Speaks very highly of the ability of the left to buy their votes with your and my tax dollars.

          • bjreg3

            So true! As a comedian said ( about those of the left during a recent show) ” you can’t fix stupid”…… Pity how they have divided this country with lies and distortions and they have another on deck.

        • Kevin kevins

          Blowback.

        • tim

          What “American Empire”? With the exception of Puerto Rico and some pacific possessions, we haven’t taken any territory despite having prevailed in the two biggest wars in human history, and those possessions were taken in our last “imperial” war, the Spanish-American war. For an empire, we are the most benign in the history of humanity. We liberated nations, and walked away. We spent our blood and treasure to free people. Sometimes we succeeded (Korea, Gulf War I, World War II), sometimes we failed (Vietnam), sometimes we broke even (Gulf War II, World War I), and sometimes no amount of effort on anyone’s part would have altered the outcome (Afghanistan, Somalia, nationbuilding in Iraq). People hate us because hate is a useful tool for demagogues and fools. I am reminded of the Somali intervention, and the insane victory dance they did when we pulled out – with all the food supplies. Yeah, that worked well for them. People hate us because their lives suck, and ours do not, even when we have dysfunctional government and economic doldrums.

        • acceptreality

          Empire is not a word that applies to the USA. Our entire history is one of freeing other countries after wars, not colonizing them for gain. Just ponder how many countries that would be flying our flag as the result of wars in just the twentieth century–much of Europe, Pacific Rim, S. America, Middle East and North Africa. The sun would not set on our empire.

  • TerryTee

    It’s time to “Stick a Stake thru the Heart” of this worthless program and move on. The ship can’t defend itself from anything larger than a speedboat, can’t take a hit from anything larger than an RPG or a 50 cal., because it’s designed to “Commercial” standards instead of Military Survivability Standards. The thing can’t keep running for more than a few weeks before it breaks down again. Costs twice as much as originally promised. The Modules that it’s supposed to have, don’t exist or are Years late and untested. I could go on and on.

    • Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

      “[I]t’s designed to ‘Commercial’ standards instead of Military Survivability Standards”: I’m afraid that’s factually incorrect. Yes, the original concept was that LCS would be built to commercial standards — basically, if it took a hit, it should sink slowly enough the crew can get off alive — but early in the program, the Navy decided to upgrade to what they called “Level One Survivability,” well short of larger warships but still much better than a commercial ship. In fact, the notorious cost overruns on the first two LCS were largely driven by the Navy making this major change when the ships were already under construction, which required a lot of expensive rework. The costs of subsequent ships have come way down, to the point the Navy now says the cost of whole LCS package — the basic ship, aka the “seaframe,” plus mission module — is about the same $400 million originally promised.

    • lessthantolerant

      Sounds like an Obama program! How did this thing get off the boards?

      • Don Bacon

        Here’s the history. It totally pre-dates Obama.

        http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/docUploaded/Case%207%20LCS.pdf

        • lessthantolerant

          Obama was supposed to cure all this, the poor boy can’t even get Reggie to love him right!

          • Don Bacon

            I know. Hope for change and then change your hope.
            But hey, he was only a junior first-term senator with no accomplishments — he’ll grow into it. Give him time.

          • lessthantolerant

            this boy could grow into a pair of men’s shoes. I wish he’d become a bullet catcher like the Kennedys.

          • http://defense.aol.com/ Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

            As a matter of policy, we’d ask all commenters to refrain from calling for the assassination of the President. In fact, let’s not advocate killing anyone, m’kay?

          • lessthantolerant

            No one called for such a thing, I just asked him to catch bullets as well as Kennedy.

          • SilverKait

            I wholeheartedly agree that it’s counterproductive and irresponsible at the very least to talk about or call for assassination of the prez no matter how much we disagree with his policies and worldview.

          • tim

            Agreed. Besides, is everyone forgetting the walking kevlar vest that occupies the Vice Presidency? Why would anybody want THAT to by CinC?

          • tesmith47

            bet you think bush was just fine

        • Amicus Curiae

          There is a much bigger question that no one is asking. Why can’t the US do anything right any more? The LCS is only one example of declining expertise. How about the F-35 jet fighter or the 787 airliner or the Obamacare website, for instance? Is it because humanity is devolving into stupidity, or our societal organization promotes poor performance? Failure seems to be embedded in the culture, not the leadership. It does not matter who is in charge politically, our boys always botch it.

          • Chad Daigle

            The problem is that the contractors are letting their mouth overload their ass. They are promising more than they can deliver. The govt. being the dickless wonder that it is doesnt hold them to the original promise. Instead they try to fix the problem the same way they try to fix any other problem….throw more money at it .

          • CAPT_Mike2

            our ‘boats’ are still ok

          • Howard Hofelich

            too eager to do the “no races or cultural groups left behind”…if we had a REAL war , our diversity issues would have us overrun and defeated overnight. I say back to the white race drawing board and no catch up (affirmative action for the Negros,) and no pandering to notions of female equality, and no more of this progressive horseshit. Turn the clock back to 1950. We were on the right path.

          • hardwroc

            You missed on your calendar setting by 100 years. You must have meant 1850.

          • John Clayton

            I blame the people responsible for all the contracts that are involved in LCS. F-35, etc. The contracts are a joke, a way for industry to suck the tax dollars from the DoD, with no consequences other than more money to fix every flawed design. The For Profit corporations are the culprits. Every retired general and colonel.

      • tesmith47

        you sound like one of those stupid Obama haters

      • Halifax Resolves

        Better question is how did he manage to convince 53% of the voters to re-elect him.

      • retired gearbuilder

        It was a BUSH program to buy everything from overseas suppiers as cheaply as possible and to build it to commercial standards, I assembled the Port side gears, which are perfectly suitable for a ferry boat, not a war ship. I also built the gears for LHA’s LHD’s CVN’s and DDG’s and they are built to military standards of quality and survivability.

    • http://defense.aol.com/ Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

      “[I]t’s designed to ‘Commercial’ standards instead of Military Survivability Standards”: I’m afraid that’s factually incorrect.

      Yes, the original concept was that LCS would be built to commercial standards — basically, if it took a hit, it should sink slowly enough the crew can get off alive — but early in the program, the Navy decided to upgrade to what they called “Level One Survivability,” well short of larger warships but still much better than a commercial ship. In fact, the notorious cost overruns on the first two LCS were largely driven by the Navy making this major change when the ships were already under construction, which required a lot of expensive rework. The costs of subsequent ships have come way down, to the point the Navy now says the cost of whole LCS package — the basic ship, aka the “seaframe,” plus mission module — is about the same $400 million originally promised.

    • retired gearbuilder

      I assembled the port side gear sets for this ship, and they were of poor quality and even pooer design from a Swiss Company who farmed out much of their part of the job to a Polish company, with internal parts mostly manufactured by GE Lynn whee we assembled and tested them.
      I managed to really piss off the Swiss engineer when I told him they should stick to chocolate and coocoo clocks. We built gear sets for WAR ships in Lynn and this thing was built like a ferry boat. I don’t want to tell US Mariens they are on a ferry boat, I might get my ass kicked.

      • Sam Pensive

        THAT’S THE PROBLEM THERE ‘RETIRED GB’
        if the specs and the program accept cheap, even
        the best ships will be cheap and we will have cheap
        problems….I for one am glad that most of the
        USN aren’t cheap ships.
        I DO hope the life rafts, and sink at sea gear isn’t cheap.

  • Don Bacon

    Some LCS survivability considerations–

    –Freedom LCS series has aluminum superstructure; Independence series (trimaran) is all aluminum

    Aluminum is more expensive and it takes more aluminum to equal the strength of steel. Also fire resistance is an issue.
    material – thermal conductivity – melting point (C)
    Steel – 52 – 1500
    Aluminum -190 – 620

    –the LCS was built without galvanic corrosion protection

    –ballooning LCS construction costs ($440m ea) caused the Navy to try to save money by ordering that future ships be built to commercial standards.

    –One of the issues with the Freedom is that it is six percent overweight and therefore more likely to sink if damaged. This seems to have been caused by design changes during construction.

  • Mario

    There was a time the USN had beautiful warships… Today? We now have some of the ugilest looking USN ships!.

    • JIMB

      AYE AYE

    • Eric Johnson

      Last time I looked, the US Navy wasn’t entering beauty contests, but contested waters. I hope these meet the requirements of handling a fight vs looking pretty.

  • David Epstein

    The plan for the LCS was to have a sail-off between the two designs before any more ships were procured. There were supposed to be three missions. Last I heard, the ships can only go to sea with two of the three mission capabilities and then must return to port to offload one capability and install a second. Imagine – telling the “bad guys” excuse me I want a “time-out” for three days so I can prepare to deal with you. Of course, the Navy went ahead and bought more ships of each design, even though neither design works. Our tax dollars at work!!

    • http://defense.aol.com/ Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

      Actually, the LCS can only carry one of the three “mission modules” at a time, not three, and one of the modules is fully ready. (The Freedom is currently sailing with a partial anti-surface-ship module, the Independence is testing a soon-to-be-delivered mine-clearing module, and the anti-submarine module is a ways off).

      That said, the concept as I understand it is for LCS to operate in small groups — rather like a WWII “wolf pack” — with, say, a couple of ships carrying the mine-clearing module while a third carries the anti-surface-ship module to keep fast attack boats off their backs, with an Aegis destroyer further back providing anti-aircraft and anti-cruise-missile protection. It sounds complicated, but very few warships are built to go in harm’s way alone.

      • hokie_1997

        If you’re referring to U-boat wolf pack, it might be interesting to note that a submarine could stay at sea for months at a time.

        In fact, extended endurance was one of main characteristics of both submarines and ASW ship designs in WW2. They don’t call it “awfully slow warfare” for nothing!

        In that regard, the 21-day at sea capability and limited manning of the LCS is a tremendous step backwards for our ASW capabilities. Even when/if we get the ASW module.

      • Don Bacon

        pick, picky

        You mean one Mission Package, consisting of two Mission Modules

        http://www.seaforces.org/wpnsys/SURFACE/LCS-mission-modules.htm

  • Don Bacon

    The GAO Report is due out today. Sneak preview:

    The current LCS program is not the program envisioned over a decade
    ago, Initial cost estimates have been significantly exceeded; the Navy has not been able to field the ship or its planned capabilities much more rapidly than prior programs, as planned; and … the Navy will not be able to demonstrate that the LCS can meet the threshold capabilities defined in its requirements documentation with mission modules integrated with the seaframes until 2019.

    2019!! The USS Freedom was commissioned on 8 November 2008.

  • ycplum

    The fundamental concept of a littoral combat ship with modular systems is sound. I think the problem is that they were experimenting with using a civilian design and then adding in the naval requirements. I hink you pretty much have to design from the hull up. It turned out that the civilian hull design was inadequate for combat needs.
    With that said, there appears to be a lot of invaluable lessons here, some what to do and some what not to do.

  • Don Bacon

    The LCS ‘Perez Report’ is out. In January 2012, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson directed that there be an assessment and review of the Navy’s readiness to receive, employ and deploy the littoral combat ship. The effort was led by Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs, and Operations in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and former commander of Carrier Strike Group 1.

    excerpts from Executive Summary–

    –Planners must take care to assign LCS to appropriate operational areas and missions that closely match the ships’ capabilities.
    –The ships’ current characteristics limit operations to a greater extent than envisioned.
    –As configured, lCS’ characteristics require the ship to pull into port more frequently to replenish, provide crew rest, and conduct maintenance.
    –the current capabilities delivered by two of the three MP’s fall short of the requirements needed to satisfy the CONOPS. The ASW MP comes late. The MCM MP is behind schedule and must overcome a few remaining challenges, but is nearing fleet introduction. (remainder of paragraph redacted)

    The redaction must have addressed the SUW MP which provides fleet protection from small boats.

  • eatingdogfood

    Oh No !!!

  • Don Bacon

    The GAO Report expected soon will primarily address LCS program and unit costs.

    The Navy initially planned to spend $220M on each sea frame. The cost is now [2007] estimated to be $270M. The mission modules will cost an average of $150M per ship. Total system acquisition costs could come to more than $470M per ship.

    http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/docUploaded/Case%207%20LCS.pdf

    Reports say that the ship cost has doubled to $440m. Module costs (two per ship) unknown. So we’re looking at an LCS cost, possibly, of about $600 million or more. An Arleigh Burke class destroyer is $1,843 million.

    It seems that the original idea of an expendable, plentiful, fast and cheap littoral balancing force to the blue-water fleet has been totally lost.

  • brownie

    Notice how these critics lump the very successful trimaran design in with what was modeled after an Italian commercial yacht (Freedom)?
    For political and practical reasons, expediency begs that the Freedom Class be terminated ASAP. Have her shipyard TRANSITION to manufacture of the General Dynamics trimaran Independence design.

    • hokie_1997

      LCS-2 is currently rusting away due to galvanic corrosion. There were so many discrepancies in LCS-2 that Navy required two acceptance trials before they took custody of ship. And total cost as of 2009 was $700 million — or roughly a 220% cost overrun.

      LCS-2 is just as FUBAR’d as LCS-1. The only thing that makes it look better is that it is even further behind sked than LCS-1!

  • Nohbody

    With the LCS’s inability to take any hit bigger than a personal sidearm, I hate to think of how much of the purported mission of the designs will go uncovered when it tucks its figurative tail between its equally figurative legs and runs away.

    Sure, any other warship that winds up damaged will also eventually have to retreat for repairs, but even a Perry (a design which was similarly maligned when it was new, to be fair) will be able to take more damage than given in a preschool playground slap fight before having to withdraw.

  • Walt

    These ships will doubtless lead to many bold new career paths for retired USN Captains.

  • citizen paul

    I hope they do not try to save the LCS mess by bringing back old gator navy sailors. I thought my old ship (ex-USS Austin LPD-4) was far below the standard of my first ship (ex-USS Forrestal CV-59). These LCS ships make the old Austin look like a nuclear submarine in most design matters. The Austin cruised days on partial power plant capability and we got underway as long as we could make headway. As for mission modules, we made do with customized con-ex boxes on the flight and lower decks with power cables.

    Merchant/commercial grade ships do not cut it for anything meant to go in harm’s way. It takes glib military PR flacks like Admiral Greenert to call the LCS combat ready to any degree. It really doesn’t look any more capable than a SEAL team assault boat. Hand off the LCS ships to the Coast Guard to give them some force projection to deal with terrorists/pirates at sea.

  • Hopley Yeaton

    If the Navy keeps working at it, they will eventually invent the Coast Guard cutter. Oh wait, the U.S. Coast Guard invented that back in 1790!

    • Sam Pensive

      until I checked today – really didn’t know there were so many different hulls and cutters in the USCG fleets and historical rosters … I also read that much of their role was at sea in warfare, anti sub type activity in WWII and they are regarded as long lived highly durable ships.

      Wikipedia;Type:CutterDisplacement:2,216 long tons (2,252 t; 2,482 short tons)Length:327 ft (99.67 m) o/aBeam:41 ft (12.50 m)Draught:12.5 ft (3.81 m)Propulsion:2 x oil-fueled Babcock & Wilcox boilers
      Westinghouse geared turbines
      2 shafts
      6,200 ihp (4,600 kW)Speed:20 knots (37.0 km/h; 23.0 mph)Range:12,300 nautical miles (22,780 km; 14,155 mi) at 11 knots (20.4 km/h; 12.7 mph)Complement:125Armament:As built:
      2 x 5-inch/51
      8 x .5-inchAircraft carried:1 x Grumman JF-2 Duck or Curtiss SOC

  • Willy

    Low bidder or poor labor workmanship.

  • bubbinator

    Same IT guys who tried to do O-Screw-us CAre? Not a surprise that Govmint techs are low bidder scum who screw the country.

  • Sonshine

    I have watched this happen on every military contract I worked on. The Nay Sayers all knocked every program that gave our troops the best equipment they could have. But when that equipment went into battle in Iraq 1 and 2 and later in Afghanistan they preformed above and beyond specifications. Don’t fall for this crap!

  • beelp

    A “…centrist Democrat think tank…”? Are you kidding? No, really, are you kidding? There ARE NO “Centrist Democrats”!

  • Arch

    1960′s high endurance coast guard cutters were brilliant designs that could easily do all of these missions for a fraction of the cost. These steel ships operated successfully from the shallow waters of coastal Viet Nam to the towering monster waves of the North Atlantic. And they each had 2 jet engine turbines for amazing speeds when needed.
    Why can’t the Navy follow up on these proven WHEC designs?

    • wtny64

      I had a similar thought a couple of years ago when their was talk about a new mission to the moon, at an INSANE cost: did somebody throw away the plans for the Apollo project?

  • maxoverload

    would be better to go back to plywood pt boats with quality electronics , they would be as good or better .

  • canemah

    On top of everything else, it’s ugly. It looks like a t-rd with a hemorrhoid attached to it. What floors me is that when you mount aluminum to steel, especially with electricity present, and salt water, you build in a massive corrosion problem. The worst incidence of it I heard about was an 82ft Coast Guard Cutter caught in high seas on the way to SVN for coastal patrol. The entire superstructure (aluminum) “dislocated” from the hull (steel).

    • nolcon

      Thank you Canemah…. I have I have hilarious visions of floating turds with hemorrhoids attached to them. You lightened my morning! Come to think of it… the President looks a lot like that also!

  • Michael A. Brodine

    This is what leading from behind gets you & Navy also.

  • geburuh

    It looks like a big PT boat with less guns

  • tdrag

    During the Viet Nam war someone decided we no longer needed cannons on our F-4 Phantoms because we had all of these “sophisticated” air to air missiles. Well, the Russian trained North Viet Namese pilots were taught to dog fight-with cannons and we lost men and aircraft before reversing that decision. These ships are really cool but can they be fought like our older vessels and will they hold up under sustained combat without a lot of maintenance?

    • ycplum

      I was under the impression that the original intent did not include slug matchs like our blue navy ships. It was to be a patrol ship (like ani-pirate) and supporting ship (land bombardment, special forces insertion, mine sweeping, etc.) in littoral zones. To be honest, I haven’t been keeping a close eye on the project. Was there soem mission creep?

  • me109g4

    To quote a famous engineer,,”the more they overthink the plumbing the easier to stop up the drains”. Classic case of ignoring the KISS principle.

  • SilverKait

    “…“Sydney, this is ludicrous,” fumed naval historian and LCS critic Norman Polmar. . .” “… There’s something wrong with the whole approach, the whole program, and it needs to be reviewed at a much higher level,…”"…It can’t be left in the hands of the people running the program…”“…I hate to tell you ‘we told you so’,” “…we were told at the time …. all this has been dealt with, from the equipment failures to the cracking.”Great morale booster… ships that are falling apart under servicemen’s feet as they watch! We had a car like that once, a GM car. We’ve gone with Ford ever since. Shameful for these companies to roll out such substandard products, especially for military use. Just as shameful or moreso for the buyer, taxpayer reps?, to accept and even tout the “worthiness” of such shoddy, lower than substandard work.

  • Woody20164

    If only they’d scrutinize Obamacare this closely.

  • SilverKait

    Aside from the shameful workmanship and possibly nonexistent oversight in regard to these ships, I have to say the remarks from those in the know about these ships caused me a bit of confusion. As I read them, I kept thinking I had accidentally switched to a page talking about the Obamacare law…

    “…“Sydney, this is ludicrous,” fumed naval historian and LCS critic Norman Polmar. . .” “… There’s something wrong with the whole approach, the whole program, and it needs to be reviewed at a much higher level,…”"…It can’t be left in the hands of the people running the program…”“…I hate to tell you ‘we told you so’,” “…we were told at the time …. all this has been dealt with…”

  • 1mule

    I served on a Knox Class DE, primary mission ASW. Crew of 235. These ships have a ships company of less than 50. The operating cost are tremendously lower than conventional ship. Each ship has 2 crews that rotate. Any program has its warts initially that have to be ironed out, nothing unusual here. Overall this is a great concept and for once we are tailoring for the next war, not the last.

  • ycplum

    As in any new design or procedure, there will be kinks to be ironned out. The hull design is takes a civilan desin and tried to modify it for military use. In theory, it should have saved money,but it didn’t. The naval architects (or program managers) failed to consider the degree of redundancy required for a military hull. They were also testing a more “streamline” design/build process. I am old school, and I dislike the design/build process for something so complex, but anything new has to start somewhere.
    The ship hull is also much more mission flexible. The cost for that was less “firepower/dollar” and survivability for ships of similar size. The question si whether the trade off is acceptable. (I thought the original concept was for a ship where we had sea dominance or for special unit insertions and recovery.)
    If teh design is bad, drop it. If nothing else, I had hoped we would learn some lessons with the new designs and new design/build/procurement proceedures. Hopefully we still can.

  • NuMoo

    “grill…..” And then what?
    Give them more money to keep doing the same old thing! What BS.

  • [email protected]

    Maybe we should revert back to wind.

  • robertbd

    Just deploy the ship and a fleet to rescue it…

  • X-Ray

    Electricity on the oceans must be handled with care; they do not mix. The design must be carefully done and the equipment properly run.

  • okie

    First things first. Just whose idea? Research on Aluminum ?????and salt water got this approved.

    Its will never work as intended,you cannot apply steel rules to aluminum.

    To many dissimilar metals on this project. Never ending conflicts from this use in salt water and in the air.

    If lite weight is the goal for speed and maneuverability,long life use,reliability. “Carbon Fiber Graphite”. It can now be Air cured. Lite weight,stealthy by material design. Can be made in sections and joined with high strength. Double wall with ballistic foam in-between.

    Bring the ship in Now and make a reinforced “MOLD” off the hull then hand lay up a new carbon fiber hull in the mold.

    Keep the hull mold and if you want more,you have the exact pattern. We call it “Tooling”.

  • hackitoff

    and least the power problems don’t result in the ship traveling backwards and unable to stop.

  • Sam

    Back up until 1965 when US Naval ships were designed by Navy personnel and built at the US Government run US Navy shipyard in Brooklyn NY and the all of the work was done by Federal government employees with no defect or deficiencies or cost overrun problems. Since the Navy began contracting out the design and purchase on Naval ships every single one had defects and HUGE cost over-runs. The US Coast Guard also ran into severe problems (hull buckling and cracking) with their larger 110′ to 180′ patrol boats also built by private contractors and their entire fleet of 7 brand new USCG vessels were brought back to docks and grounded. The problem is that the Navy and the Federal Government never file suit against their suppliers and make them pay for their own mistakes and deficient design work..

  • Walter Adams

    The Air Force had Col. John(40 seconds) Boyd to straighten out their dead end, top down design mess. He showed mathematicly that every US aircraft was inferior to Russian aircraft, and was the driving force behind the F-14, F-16 and defined aerial combat tactics. Then he died. Now the Air Force is on track to forget every thing he showed them; i.e. F-22 , F-35.
    Does the Navy have a Boyd somewhere?

  • DaveLCAC

    Lets keep in perspective the mission and role of the LCS. She is not an offensive ship, she is a mission support ship that by design does not have big weapons or ability to absorb hits. Just like most of the L-ships and even carriers to a degree, they all rely on the other surface fighting ships like destroyers and cruisers to protect them. I know there is considerable risk in this philosophy but that is another discussion. LCS conducts MIW, ASW and SPECOPS support missions with their various mission packages. As for the quality for the ships, we have evolved our acquisition process to the industry designed and competed with cost plus fixed fee contract model. While this looks good during the POM spread sheet games designed to keep cost within the current TOA, in the log run the contractor always wins. Further, NAVSEA has adopted the 06 acquisition manager mentality that ruined the civilian manager model that produced many of the ships that are currently in service and were produced at a reasonable cost. Too many of these 06′s come in with vastly inadequate acquisition skills and/or experience. Their entire training for the very complex programs is usually 6 weeks at Fort Belvior’s Defense Management school.

  • David Dodge

    its overpriced and under-capable without the modules being finished for it and the only advantage in combat over a perry class ship is the stealth. I still think a perry class would easily beat one in a visible range fight during the day.

  • David Dodge

    id rebuild the perry class and improve and update that design and chuck the lcs design in the can.

  • Lance

    Seems like much is being made of something not that uncommon on all ships, loss of power. That happened from time to time throughout my career on all ships I served on except the carrier Roosevelt. Seems like advantage is being taken by some of something not that rare.

  • borntobePolitical

    Give it to HHS, they will save the day.

  • Vinibomba

    If countries hate us ,why the hell do we help them. Bet if we stop they would cry that the us is brutal towards helping the unfortunate. Basically like our elected official that keep giving entitlement to people to win their vote. Maybe cut back on the extra frill, cell phones , baby sitting care, etc and you would see a big difference. They may,just may have to get a job or get along without these bennies. Everyone who contribute is entitled to help ,but not forever. Best we re-assess our spending habits and we will be better off. No one should be elect to serve all the people by buying votes with entitlements,including unions, business favorite , or so call lazy people who don’t even know how to spell work.