If you can't build it...

The Navy, like a most of the military, is keen to be efficient. Whether it is in the prosecution of a mission or the acquisition of a weapons system. I am pleased to see the cancellation of LCS 4. I am NOT a fan of the littoral ship program. I think there are conventional systems already available which will more than meet the need of the Navy in this regard. Specifically, these systems are currently called "helicopters". They can operate with little regard to sea state, can remain on station for sufficient periods of time and have the capability to avoid pesky hazards like mines.

The Coast Guard uses helicopters to great effect in the littorals. The Navy needs to look at their model and adopt the same. We could quickly deploy air assets against a small waterborne threat and actually interdict them, vice trying to move (even at 50 kts) a 1000ton vessel.

Navy Terminates Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 4) Contract
Thu, 1 Nov 2007 10:31:00 -0500

November 01, 2007

Navy Terminates Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 4) Contract

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today that the Department of the Navy is terminating construction of the fourth littoral combat ship (LCS 4) for convenience under the termination clause of the contract because the Navy and General Dynamics could not reach agreement on the terms of a modified contract.

The Navy had not yet authorized construction on LCS 4, following a series of cost overruns on LCS 2. The Navy intended to begin construction of LCS 4 if the Navy and General Dynamics could agree on the terms for a fixed-price incentive agreement. The Navy worked closely with General Dynamics to try to restructure the agreement for LCS 4 to more equitably balance cost and risk, but could not come to terms and conditions that were acceptable to both parties.

The Navy remains committed to the LCS program. "LCS continues to be a critical warfighting requirement for our Navy to maintain dominance in the littorals and strategic choke points around the world," said Winter. "While this is a difficult decision, we recognize that active oversight and strict cost controls in the early years are necessary to ensuring we can deliver these ships to the fleet over the long term."

"I am absolutely committed to the Littoral Combat Ship," said Roughead. "We need this ship. It is very important that our acquisition efforts produce the right littoral combat ship capability to the fleet at the right cost."

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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Anonymous said…
From the green side, The LCS is probably the last best hope WE have of getting any decent NSFS. Helos do not have the loiter time required for all the missions. I have dug into this project and the typical issues have surfaced, USN wants a platform that can do anything and everything simultaneously. Some things just need dedicated support. The modular concept with the "cheap" missiles made sense, the addition of fixed guns has made the thing untenable.
But, who am I? (just 25+ years of experience in amphib warfare) :)

Semper fi!
Mud Shark
Major John said…
Meh. We had the Paladin to cancel - sometimes it just takes the Brass Hats a while to catch up with reality...
Citizen Deux said…

I couldn't disagree more on this issue. There are a LOT of other better platforms for this vessel. If we started looking at simplifying our manning on DDGs, we could probably make them very servicable. How about buying some existing corvettes from NATO countries?

A HELO may not have the loiter time, but that depends on what it needs to do, drop a sensor and skeedaddle?
Anonymous said…
My Friend,
Mission 1: NSFS
Mission 2: All weather presence/VBSS
Mission 3: In shore/shallow water mine clearance
Mission 4: Advance force ops
To name a few. :)

The likelihood of the US buying a foreign built ship for the Navy is as near to realization as my promotion in the US Marines.

Now, I would agree on some other issues and the use of WIG vehicles would be a wonderful thing, but the bottom line, at least form my uneducated position is numbers. Net centricity be damned. It comes down to simple mass. The substitution of lethality for mass has resulted in one lost opportunity after another for this country and we just need to get over the fact that if we are going to be an empire...err...a hegemonic entity, we need to do a few things to ensure our survival. Quantity has a quality all its own. But large numbers of reasonably high quality platforms can be better!

Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like bananas!
Semper Fi!
Mud Shark
Citizen Deux said…

Appreciate the USMC view. However, there are better platforms.

1) NSFS - still waiting on the new tube for the DDG
2) VBSS - If you need to conduct VBSS, it needs to be done (mostly) outside of territorial waters - in which case any blue water vessel with RHIBS will work. Even an MSC ship.
3) Mine clearance - we have not proven to be effective in this arena - a fighting ship (like the LCS) can not sustain mine clearing and combat operations. I would defer to UUVs and more burtish techniques.
4) If we are to conduct advance operations against shore facilities, I would rather see a SDV from an SSGN or SSN than a slow, noisy LCS trundling up to the line of debarkation.

If the waterspace s under our control, any vessel will do. If it is not under our control, then we must consider the speed and stealth over all other aspects. Survivability is a poorly used term in this arena. The Falklands should have taught modern navies that lesson.