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Subject: The LCS-- what do we need?
Charles99    2/21/2008 8:21:26 PM
There seems to be a bit of confusion in some quarters in the public on what the LCS is supposed to Do. So I thought I'd throw the question open, without assuming any particular physical design, what should a notational LCS system be able to do? What should be it's capabilities? I'd give the following categories: 1. Mission critical abilities-- if it can't do this, you don't have a shipo. 2. Useful, but not vital capabilities. What are your thoughts on what *should* the LCS be able to do, and contrarywise, what would be a case of trying to make it do to much for the platform and budget?
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benellim4       2/21/2008 8:38:35 PM
a) Perform point self-defense against small fast surface and air targets.
b) Perform Maritime Interception Operations
c) Perform *limited* mine hunting/neutralization
d) Perform group shallow water/anti-diesel submarine operations

a) Be able to perform limited area air defense
b) Be able to perform extensive mine hunting/neutralization
c) Be able to perform single ship anti-submarine operations
d) Be able to perform all missions in group 1 and 2 inherently (In other words, not require separate mission modules)

I think the mission module idea is a good one. And I'm not opposed to building the ships to commercial vice USN standards, but it requires a huge culture shift in the USN. "Don't give up the ship" may be words you see in a picture of an SM-3 shoot, but it is also a way of life in the USN. The examples of STARK, ROBERTS, PRINCETON, TRIPOLI, and COLE are used to reinforce this culture. Recruits going through USN boot camp go through a series of tests onboard a ship simulator that simulates many of the challenges faced on the COLE. The simulator itself resembles the COLE.(In fact, a co-worker of mine was a COLE survivor, when he went through the simulator he said he started to have flashbacks.) It is extremely difficult for the organization to all of a sudden decide to build a ship that is, essentially, disposable.

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ArtyEngineer       2/21/2008 8:53:00 PM
Well, to aid this discussion I would reccommend a thorough examination of the LCS Program site, link below:
Within this site in the docements section is the "Preliminary Design Interim Requirements Document (IRD)" in PDF.  Direct link below:
This at least lets us know what the USN thinks these ships should be able to do!!!!
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Charles99       2/22/2008 6:04:19 AM
Hmm, reading that one feels that the problem is that the navy doesn't HAVE a good idea of what they want the LCS to do-- or rather they want it to do everything without a strong focus on any one thing, which generally doesn't work well.

  To my mind, the LCS is too small and lightly armed to be an effective frigate, and too big and expensive to be an expendable corvette in the littorals. 
  Also, some of it's capabilities seem rather over blown-- why does it need to do 40kts? 
 YES, it is very nice, but with the increasing move towards organic helicopter and UCAV capaibilities, to say nothing of netfires and other missile systems, its not like it's going to be trying to chase down an enemy in a long stern chase.  It's nice, and would be great to have, but is it worth the cost? 
  The lack of any sort of area AA on the craft is also of some concern... because we can't be certain we'll always dominate the airspace.  Now, That would add even mnore cost to it, but I really am coming to believe the problem is that the LCS shouldn't be one vessel, but two-- an OPV/corvette that while fast doesn't have long legs, and something more like the OHP class updated for the modern era. 

  Problem is, the navy needs to figure out what they need and get it, because we'll be a pretty sad navy if we have a few superships, some carriers, and not a lot else in the next twenty years.  The most useless ship is one that you can't have in th4e area, after all.

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asavery       2/22/2008 8:20:14 AM
I don't disagree, however I feel that the LCS (especially that I-version study) should probably be the high/mid-end for littorals and low-end for blue-water operations, a real OHP replacement so to speak.  As it is now, the LCS is to fill the (current & previous) roles of the OHP, Cyclone, Avengery, Osprey, and others (I would even say the old eagle-class patrol vessels/coastal anti-sub craft).  Frankly it is too large, to expensive, and not well suited for much of the "lower-end" missions in high quantity (mine-warfare especially).
As I mentioned in a related thread, I think what is needed is a smaller vessel as well, also with the modular as the low-end complement.  This is not new and I would point to the Danish Flyvefisken Class (Standard-Flex 300) Multi-Role Vessel a benchmark/starting point for design.  LCS-I could command, protect, and support this type of vessel (in greater numbers).  Even considering an enlarged USN design (along LM LCS-style lines) it would still hopefully be under 750-tons and be able to swap in the same capabilities as the current LCS (minus the aviation facilities).  To be clear, such a vessel would mostly work in concert with the LCS, not replace.
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