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19 novembre 2015 4 19 /11 /novembre /2015 08:30
Saudi Arabia's Multi-Mission Surface Combatant will be based on the US Navy's Freedom-class littoral combat ships, seen here, but will be more heavily armed.(Photo US Navy)

Saudi Arabia's Multi-Mission Surface Combatant will be based on the US Navy's Freedom-class littoral combat ships, seen here, but will be more heavily armed.(Photo US Navy)

 

November 17, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Saudi Arabia has become the first export customer for the U.S. Navy’s new LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) type vessels. The Saudis are buying four modified LCS ships for $11 billion. This includes basing facilities, training and support as well as extensive modifications to the basic LCS design. The Saudi ships are heavily modified Freedom type LCS ships that the Saudis call MMSC (Multi-Mission Surface Combatant) frigates. The Saudis have been considering this purchase since 2005.

 

In early 2015 the U.S. Navy decided to reclassify the LCS as frigates. This was not unexpected as in size and function the LCS ships were very comparable to frigates. This type of ship was created during World War II as “Destroyer Escorts” (or DE, versus DD for destroyer). These were basically destroyers that were slower (smaller engines), smaller (fewer weapons) and meant for escorting convoys and patrolling areas where major warships were not expected. The DEs proved more useful than expected and were retained after the war and eventually renamed as frigates (FF) type ships. The LCS was meant to be much more than a frigate and used a very innovative design. All that did not work out as expected.

 

The Saudi MMSC armament will be heavier, including sixteen VLS cells carrying Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). These are anti-aircraft weapons with a range of 50 kilometers. There will also be a 76mm gun, eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, several anti-submarine tubes, a 21 cell SeaRAM anti-missile system, a 20mm remotely controlled autocannon, ten 12.7mm machine-guns and more extensive electronics and defensive systems than the U.S. LCS. This includes a variable depth sonar, a torpedo defense system as well as a more powerful radar, and fire control system. A helicopter will also be carried. The heavier armament means the MMSC will not be able to use the mission modules the LCS was designed to carry. NNSC will probably have a crew of about a hundred.

 

Meanwhile the U.S. Navy continues having problems with the original LCS weapons and mission modules. There have been development delays (largely due to poor management) of three unique weapons systems developed for the LCS. The simplest weapon involved is a surface launched Hellfire missile. This missile was designed to be launched from aircraft but it has been long suggested that it be adapted for use from the surface, specifically from warships. The LCS Hellfire has been named the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module and won’t be ready for service until 2017. This module includes 24 Hellfire missiles. The problems are minor compared to the two other problematic modules; the one for mine hunting and one for ASW (anti-submarine warfare) system. The MCM (Mine CounterMeasures) module has no major problems with any of its sensors or mine destroying systems. The problems are with the “integration” (the hardware and software created to get all components of the MCM module to work efficiently together.) The MCM module was supposed to be operational by now but additional debugging will delay this at least until 2016. The worst problems are with the ASW module. All the components work well and integration is fine but in getting all this done someone lost track of module weight, which was not supposed to exceed 105 tons. The excess weight must be removed before the LCS can safely and reliably use the ASW module. This will prove expensive since most of the ASW components involved have been around for a while and are not easily or cheaply modified.

 

These mission modules (which the Saudis are not going to use) are in addition to the basic armament of the LCS which includes a 57mm gun, four 12.7mm machine-guns, two 30mm autocannons, and a 21 cell SeaRam system for aircraft and missile defense. The RAM (RIM-116 "Rolling Air Frame") missiles replaces the earlier Phalanx autocannon. SeaRAM has a longer range (7.5 kilometers) than the Phalanx (two kilometers).

 

The LCS began development in 2002 and in 2012 the U.S. Navy put it into mass production. Then in 2013 one of the three LCSs in service got its first tour in a combat zone (counter-piracy duty around the Straits of Malacca). There LCSs will take turns serving six month tours of counter-piracy duty and be based in Singapore.

 

All these problems, the new ones and many old ones, caused the navy to decide in early 2014 to cut the number to be built from 52 to 32. Mostly this was about shrinking budgets, but there’s also the fact that the LCS has been, for many admirals and politicians, much more troublesome than expected. This was to be expected because the LCS was a radical new warship design and these always have a lot of problems at first. LCS was basically a replacement for the older frigates as well as several jobs frigates did not handle. The LCS has gone through the usual debugging process for a new design and that has attracted a lot of unwelcome media attention. On a more ominous note the navy has decided to study the possibility of developing a new frigate design, which would incorporate some of the lessons learned with the LCS. Because of the money shortage that is also stalled.

 

Despite all the problems many in the navy still believe that the LCS is worth the effort. Costing less than a quarter what a 9,000 ton destroyer goes for and with only a third of the crew the navy sees many tasks where the LCS can do a job that would otherwise require a destroyer or frigate. The navy could have built a new class of frigates, but the LCS design was a lot more flexible, making it possible for different “mission packages” to be quickly installed so that LCS could do what the navy needed (like assemble a lot of mine clearing ships or anti-submarine vessels) in an emergency. This has not worked out as well as expected.

 

The LCS has many novel features which required a lot of tweaking to get working properly. One much resisted latest tweak was to crew size, with ten personnel being added. That made a big difference, because all LCSs have accommodations for only 75 personnel. Normally, a ship of this size would have a crew of about 200. The basic LCS crew was 40, with the other 35 berths occupied by operators of special equipment or special personnel (SEALs or technical specialists). In practice the original crew was usually 55. That was 40 for running the ship and about 15 for the mission package. From now on the number of personnel running the ship increases to 50.

 

The navy surprised everyone in 2010 by choosing both designs and requesting that the fifty or so LCS ships be split between the two very different looking ships. While both ships look quite different (one is a traditional monohull while the other is a broader trimaran), they both share many common elements. One of the most important of these is the highly automated design and smaller crew. The two different LCS designs are from Lockheed-Martin (monohull) and General Dynamics (trimaran). The first LCS, the monohull USS Freedom, completed its sea trials and acceptance inspections in 2009. The ship did very well, with far fewer (about 90 percent fewer) problems (or "material deficiencies") than is usual with the first warship in a class. USS Independence (LCS-2) was laid down by General Dynamics in late 2005, and commissioned in January 2010.

 

Both LCS designs were supposed to be for ships displacing 2,500 tons, with a full load draft of under 3.3 meters (ten feet), permitting access to very shallow "green" and even "brown" coastal and riverine waters where most naval operations have taken place in the past generation. Top speed was expected to be over 80 kilometers with a range of 2,700 kilometers. Basic endurance is 21 days and final displacement was closer to 3,000 tons. For long deployments the LCS has to resupply at sea or return to port for more fuel, food and other items.

 

The navy originally sought to have between 50 and 60 LCSs by 2014-18, at a cost of $460 million (after the first five) each. The USS Freedom ended up costing nearly $600 million, about twice what the first ship in the class was supposed to have cost. The navy believes it has the cost down to under $500 million each as mass production begins. At this point it looks like the navy will only have 32 LCS ships by the end of the decade and still unsure about exactly what it can use these ships for.

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27 octobre 2015 2 27 /10 /octobre /2015 17:30
LCS (photo Lockheed Martin)

LCS (photo Lockheed Martin)

 

25/10/2015 Par Michel Cabirol  - LaTribune.fr

 

Les Etats-Unis vont vendre quatre frégates de type LCS (Lockheed Martin) à l'Arabie Saoudite pour un montant de 11,25 milliards de dollars.

 

Entre la France et les Etats-Unis, il n'y a pas photo en Arabie Saoudite. Quand Paris se bat depuis des mois et des mois pour vendre une trentaine de patrouilleurs pour 600 millions de dollars, Washington vise quant à lui des contrats de plus de 10 milliards de dollars. Car Ryad est prêt à acheter aux Etats-Unis quatre frégates dérivées du programme Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), des bâtiments de combat multi-missions (Multimission Surface Combatant), qui sont fabriqués par Lockheed Martin, ainsi que l'armement associé, pour un montant total de 11,25 milliards de dollars, dont 4,3 milliards pour le support. Et dire que les deux pays sont brouillés en raison de la politique arabe de Washington...

D'ailleurs le ministère de la Défense américain (DoD) est déterminé à approuver cette  vente FMS (Foreign Miliary Sales), une procédure de vente d'Etat à Etat. Cette vente va "améliorer la sécurité d'un partenaire régional stratégique, qui a été et reste une force importante de stabilité politique et de progrès économique au Proche-Orient", a précisé  l'Agence de défense, de sécurité et de coopération (DSCA). En guerre contre le Yémen soutenu par Téhéran, Ryad souhaite moderniser sa flotte au moment où les tensions s'accroissent très fortement dans la région, notamment dans le Golfe persique où les navires saoudiens sont confrontés aux bateaux iraniens à l'est du royaume.

 

De nombreux missiles à bord

La commande entre les deux alliés "brouillés" concernerait 532 missiles tactiques anti-aériens RIM-162 ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles) de Raytheon, dont 128 installés sur les quatre navires de guerre. En outre, les Multimission Surface Combatant (MMSC) seront dotés de 48 missiles anti-navires de type RGM-84 Harpoon Block II Missiles, de Boeing dont 32 installés et 16 destinés à des entraînements. Soit deux lanceurs par navire.

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15 mars 2015 7 15 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
Navy Lays Keel on Future Littoral Combat Ship Omaha

 

Mar 12, 2015 ASDNews Source : US Navy

 

Austal USA shipyard held a keel laying ceremony for the sixth Independence variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Omaha (LCS 12), Feb. 18.

With Austal USA as the shipbuilder, teamed with General Dynamics as the combat systems provider, the future USS Omaha will be approximately 420 feet in length and have a waterline beam of greater than 100 feet.

 

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7 février 2015 6 07 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Littoral Combat Ship 2014 Highlights


6 févr. 2015 Lockheed Martin

 

The U.S. Navy’s Freedom class littoral combat ship, a revolutionary surface combatant being built by a Lockheed Martin team achieved multiple operational and production milestones in 2014. Following USS Freedom’s return from deployment, the team laid the keel for LCS 11; christened and launch LCS 7; and deployed USS Fort Worth on a 16-month deployment to Southeast Asia. The LCS team is delivering on its commitment to building the agile, affordable next generation warships that the U.S. Navy needs.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Northrop Grumman to Deliver Additional Mission Packages for US Navy Littoral Combat Ship Program

 

Feb. 2, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corp.; issued Feb. 2, 2015)

 

BETHPAGE, N.Y. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has received a $21.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy for two additional Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mission packages. As the mission package integrator, the company will deliver one mission package for surface warfare and one for mine countermeasures.

 

The capabilities contained in the various mission modules directly support the three LCS primary missions – surface warfare, mine countermeasures and antisubmarine warfare. Mission modules facilitate efficient modular mission package embarkation, mission package operations at-sea, and debarkation / logistics support.

 

"As the mission package integrator for LCS we are committed to meeting the demanding requirements of our warfighters, while providing supplier base stability and reducing cost to the Navy," said Doug Shaffer, director, electronic attack/maritime systems integration programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "As more Littoral Combat Ships enter service, the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman team has stepped up to make sure the mission modules are available when needed to achieve initial operational capability (IOC)."

 

Northrop Grumman has delivered three mine countermeasures and three surface warfare mission modules for LCS. A fourth mine countermeasures mission module is in production and scheduled for delivery in 2015. The fourth and fifth surface warfare mission modules are also in production and scheduled for delivery in early 2015. Northrop Grumman performs the final integration work and completes delivery at the Mission Package Support Facility located at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif.

 

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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21 janvier 2015 3 21 /01 /janvier /2015 07:20
photo US Navy

photo US Navy

 

16 January 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy has confirmed plans to rename 20 modified littoral combat ships (LCS) as frigates.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "It is going to be the same ship, same programme of record, just with an appropriate and traditional name.

"One of the requirements of the small surface combatant task force was to have a ship with frigate-like capabilities.

"Well, if it is like a frigate, why don't we call it a frigate?"

The new designation of the FF label will apply to all LCS that are upgraded with additional weapons, sensors and combat systems such as retrofitted vessels.

However, hull numbers could stay as they are.

Future ships will also be eligible for the new designation, with 32 vessels set to be reclassified if and when they are equipped with additional weapons.

The decision comes as the US Navy retires the last of its legacy frigate vessels, including USS Kauffman, which is on its last deployment.

The navy is also reportedly considering changing the designation of the several other vessels such as joint high-speed vessels, mobile landing platforms and the afloat forward-staging base.

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5 décembre 2014 5 05 /12 /décembre /2014 07:35
USS Fort Worth Departs San Diego for Deployment (Nov. 17)


3 déc. 2014 Lockheed Martin

 

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Navy deployed its third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Fort Worth, on a 16-month journey to Southeast Asia. While deployed, the ship will visit ports, collaborate with international navies and expand LCS capabilities. USS Fort Worth, which has traveled more than 40,000 nautical miles already, is the second ship built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team. The ship was delivered to the Navy in 2012, two months ahead of schedule.

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22 octobre 2014 3 22 /10 /octobre /2014 07:20
Navy Christens Future USS Detroit (LCS 7)

 

21 oct. 2014 US Navy

 

All Hands Update October 21, 2014 #2
The Navy christened its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Detroit.

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14 octobre 2014 2 14 /10 /octobre /2014 16:20
USS Detroit (LCS 7) - photo  Lockheed Martin

USS Detroit (LCS 7) - photo Lockheed Martin



13 oct. 2014 LockheedMartinVideos

 

As the Detroit (LCS 7) prepares for christening, she was moved to her launch site. Mounted on special equipment, the ship left the building facility and now rests at the waterfront of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin. The 389-foot ship will be formally christened and launched later this year.

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21 septembre 2014 7 21 /09 /septembre /2014 11:20
USS Coronado (LCS 4) - photo US Navy

USS Coronado (LCS 4) - photo US Navy

 

Sep 18, 2014 ASDNews Source : Kongsberg Gruppen

 

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) is contracted by the US Navy to test fire KONGSBERG`s Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) under the Foreign Comparative Testing program. The firing was requested by the US Navy to demonstrate the capability to engage a surface target at a range of 100 nautical miles from an LCS class ship. The test is planned to be conducted during September this year from the USS Coronado, an Independence-class LCS.

This demonstration follows a successful NSM live fire event from the Royal Norwegian Navy´s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate witnessed by the US Navy during the recently completed Rim of the Pacific 2014.

 

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 11:20
Report: Pentagon Made Hasty LCS Fleet Cut to 32

 

August 13, 2014 by Kris Osborn

 

A new Congressional report suggests the Pentagon may face further scrutiny over its direction to issue no new contracts for the controversial Littoral Combat Ship program beyond 32 ships.

The August report questions whether the Pentagon did the proper analysis before making the decision to truncate the Navy’s planned buy of 52 ships down to 32.

The LCS vessels are currently being procured under a 2010, 10-ship deal with each of the two contractors — the Lockheed design is a steel semi-planing monohull and the General Dynamics/Austal USA design is an all-aluminum trimaran hull.


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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 07:20
Warship "Survivability"

 

12 Aug 2014 by Lazarus - informationdissemination.net

 

Much of the recent discussion of the current Littoral Combatant Ship (LCS) program and the proposed new frigate FF(G)X involves the “survivability” of both classes. Numerous senior civilian and uniformed officials have called for the FF(G)X to be “more survivable” than the current LCS. Casual observers may not know how much information goes into determining this feature of a warship design. Before the Second World War and for some time after, “survivability” was primarily concerned with how many “hits” of a certain size projectile a warship could sustain and still be mission capable. In the postwar era, the concept of survivability changed based on a new ethos in surface combatant design, the advent of nuclear weapons, and advances in detection, communication, weapons, and countermeasure technologies. In fact, a warship’s active and passive defenses against attack from aircraft, cruise missiles and underwater weapons have effectively replaced armor and other elements of physical resistance to damage, making a warship’s “survivability” more akin to a combat aircraft than past combatants.

 

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9 août 2014 6 09 /08 /août /2014 11:20
Austal Launches Montgomery - LCS 8 Second of Austal's Ten-Ship Littoral Combat Ship contract

 

Aug 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : Austal Ltd.

 

On August 6, 2014, Austal USA successfully completed the launch of the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8). The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. This vessel is the second of ten 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010.

 

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13 juin 2014 5 13 /06 /juin /2014 12:20
Navy taps Raytheon for work on Phalanx



TUCSON, June 12 - By Richard Tomkins (UPI)

 

The U.S. Navy has contracted Raytheon to remanufacture and upgrade its Phalanx Close-in Weapon System for use on Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships.

 

Raytheon reports it has received a U.S. Navy contract to remanufacture, overhaul and provide upgrades to Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systems.

The contract is worth $115.5 million, the company said. Work on the 20mm system is expected to be completed in late 2017.

Phalanx, with a computer-controlled radar, is a Gatling gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems. It has an effective range of 2.2 miles and a firing rate of 4,500 rounds a minute.

 

 

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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 16:20
USS Coronado Completes Final Contract Trials

 

 

Jun 9, 2014 ASDNews Source : US Navy

 

USS Coronado (LCS 4) successfully completed final contract trials (FCT) June 6.

 

The trial, administered by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey, is part of a series of post-delivery test and trial events through which the ship and its major systems are exercised.

 

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
BHIC to build (Malaysia's) first littoral combat ship in 2015

 

07 April 2014 Pacific Sentinel

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC) expects to build the first littoral combat ship (LCS) early next year, under a RM9bil contract awarded to its associate company.
 
This, coupled with the group’s growing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business, will help the company improve its financial performance in the current financial year ending Dec 31, 2014.
 
“We are confident of doing much better this year. BHIC’s order book for shipbuilding and MRO for this year is more than RM500mil,” managing director Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor told reporters after the company’s AGM yesterday.
 
He said the LCS programme was ahead of schedule and that actual work at the group’s shipyard in Lumut, Perak was expected to commence once the LCS project contract was finalised.
 
Read the full story at The Star
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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 17:20
Navy to Commission LCS Coronado

 

Apr 2, 2014 ASDNews Source : US Navy

 

The Navy will commission its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Coronado (LCS 4), April 5, during a ceremony at Naval Air Station, North Island in Coronado, Calif.

 

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Ring Keith, a long-time leader in the San Diego community, will serve as ship's sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Keith gives the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

 

"The commissioning of USS Coronado is a celebration of the history of the great city of Coronado and its lasting relationship with our Navy and Marine Corps. The sailors aboard LCS 4 will bring this mighty warship to life with their skill and dedication, honoring her namesake and our nation for years to come," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "When she sets sail for distant shores, Coronado, and ships like her, will have a vital role maintaining freedom of the seas, and providing naval presence in the right place, all the time."

 

Cmdr. Shawn Johnston, a native of North Carolina, is the commanding officer of the ship's Gold Crew and will lead the core crew of 40 officers and enlisted personnel. The 2,790-ton Coronado was built by Austal USA Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. The ship is 417 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 100 feet, and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine and two diesel engines to power four steerable water jets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.

 

Designated LCS 4, Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship and the second of the Independence variant. Named for Coronado, Calif., it is the third Navy ship to bear the name. USS Coronado (LCS 4) will be outfitted with reconfigurable mission packages and focus on a variety of mission areas including mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

 

The first USS Coronado (PF 38) was a patrol frigate and served as a convoy escort during World War II. The subsequent Coronado (AGF 11) was designed as an Austin Class Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) and was reconfigured to be an Auxiliary Command ship (AGF) in 1980 and subsequently served as the commander, Middle East Force flagship, then the commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship in the Mediterranean, and subsequently the commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet flag ship in the Eastern Pacific Ocean prior to decommissioning in 2006.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 19:20
US Navy Issues $698.9 M Contract Modification to LM for FY14 LCSs

 

 

Mar 11, 2014 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation

 

The U.S. Navy has issued a Lockheed Martin-led industry team a $698.9 million contract modification to add funding for construction of two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) – the seventh and eighth in a 10-ship contract awarded in December 2010.

 

The contract modification is for construction of Indianapolis (LCS 17) and LCS 19, yet to be named. The first ship on this 2010 contract, the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), was christened and launched in 2013, and is undergoing trials before delivery to the Navy in 2015. The future USS Detroit (LCS 7) will be christened and launched later this year. Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11) and Wichita (LCS 13) are all in various stages of construction, and Billings (LCS 15) will begin construction this year.

 

“Our industry team appreciates the U.S. Navy’s confidence in the LCS program as we continue down the learning curve to make these ships more capable and more affordable,” said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ship Systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “We’ll continue to build best-in-class, cost effective ships for the Navy, supporting its need to defeat littoral threats and provide maritime access in critical waterways.”

 

Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company, is building the ships in Marinette, Wis., with naval architect Gibbs & Cox of Arlington, Va., providing engineering support. Fincantieri has invested more than $74 million in the Marinette facility on upgrades that have increased efficiency and minimized energy consumption, an expansion that will allow for construction of more than two ships at a time, and process improvements that will speed up production.

 

Nearly 900 suppliers across 43 states are contributing to the Freedom-class LCS program.

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12 mars 2014 3 12 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
PCU Coronado

 

3/11/2014 Strategy page

 

SAN DIEGO (March 10, 2014) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Coronado (LCS 4) passes Naval Air Station North Island as it makes it way to its new homeport at Naval Base San Diego. Coronado is the third U.S. Navy ship named after Coronado, Calif., and is the second littoral combat ship of the Independence-class variant. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donnie W. Ryan)

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6 mars 2014 4 06 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
Raytheon awarded minehunting sonar contract

The AN/AQS-20A system is towed undersea to simultaneously scan the water column for anti-shipping mines forward of, to the sides, and beneath the vehicle. Sophisticated sonar, electro-optical sensors, and high-precision location information are used to provide high-resolution images of mines and mine-like objects.

 

Tewksbury MA Mar 05, 2014(SPX)

 

Raytheon has been awarded $35.5 million to provide the U.S. Navy with AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar systems and equipment. The system leverages advanced sonar technologies to support the Navy's critical minehunting missions, ensuring safe access and passage for military and civilian vessels on the world's oceans and waterways.

 

Deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as the variable depth sonar for the AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System (RMS), the AN/AQS-20A system is towed undersea to scan the water in front, below and to the sides of the vehicle for anti-shipping mines.

 

"An essential component of LCS, AN/AQS-20A advances the capability of the ship's mine countermeasure arsenal," said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Seapower Capability Systems for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.

 

"Enhanced to optimize detection - in both range and accuracy, AN/AQS-20A provides the Navy with the advantage they need to safely detect and effectively identify these undersea threats."

 

This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $199,692,601. The majority of the work will be performed at Raytheon's Portsmouth, R.I. facility with support and contributions from other Raytheon business areas as well as a host of large and small business supplier partners.

 

AN/AQS-20A

AN/AQS-20A is a critical element of the U.S. Navy's mine countermeasure capability, and the only minehunting sonar sensor developed, tested and certified for Remote Multi Mission Vehicle (RMMV) deployment. It is the most advanced and capable mine warfare sensor system, fully integrated with and effectively operated from the RMMV, now successfully deployed from LCS 2.

 

The AN/AQS-20A system is towed undersea to simultaneously scan the water column for anti-shipping mines forward of, to the sides, and beneath the vehicle. Sophisticated sonar, electro-optical sensors, and high-precision location information are used to provide high-resolution images of mines and mine-like objects.

 

End-to-End Mine Countermeasure Capability

Raytheon provides both a modern minehunting and mine neutralization capability to the U.S. Navy, which are two of the components in the mine countermeasure mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship class.

 

Supporting mine-clearing operations in both deep-ocean and littoral waters, AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar detects, localizes and identifies bottom, close-tethered and volume mines; and the AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) reacquires and neutralizes mines found by the AN/AQS-20A. AMNS consists of a helicopter-based control console as well as a launch and handling system equipped with four unmanned Archerfish neutralizer vehicles that destroy mines via remote control from the operator in the MH-60S helicopter.

 

The advanced technologies of these systems deliver a comprehensive, end-to-end solution - detection to neutralization - enabling the Navy to safely and effectively execute its mission with reduced risk to its ships and crews.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
CRS Reports on Littoral Combat Ship Program

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Congressional Research Service; dated February 25, 2014)

 

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress



On February 24, 2014, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Department of Defense (DOD) intends to truncate the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program to 32 ships—a reduction of 20 ships from the previously planned total of 52 LCSs.

Through FY2014, a total of 20 LCSs have been funded. Under the Navy’s FY2014 budget submission, LCSs 21 through 24 were scheduled to be requested for procurement in FY2015.

As a successor to the LCS program, Secretary Hagel announced on February 24 that the Navy is to submit “alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS.”

DOD’s desire to truncate the LCS program to 32 ships and begin work on a new ship generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate raises several potential oversight questions for Congress, including the analytical basis for DOD’s plan to truncate the LCS program, and the analytical basis and acquisition–process foundation for DOD’s plan to succeed the LCS program with a program for a ship generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.

The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular “plug-and-fight” mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. Two very different LCS designs are being built.

One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The Lockheed design is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI; the General Dynamics design is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL.

The 20 LCSs procured or scheduled for procurement in FY2010-FY2015 (LCSs 5 through 24) are being procured under a pair of 10-ship, fixed-price incentive (FPI) block buy contracts that the Navy awarded to Lockheed and Austal USA on December 29, 2010.

The LCS program has become controversial due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships’ survivability (i.e., ability to withstand battle damage), and concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed and would be able to perform their stated missions effectively. Some observers, citing one or more of these issues, have proposed truncating the LCS program. In response to criticisms of the LCS program, the Navy has acknowledged certain problems and stated that it was taking action to correct them, disputed other arguments made against the program, and (until February 24, 2014) maintained its support for completing the planned program of 52 ships.


Click here for the full report (90 PDF pages) hosted by the Federation of American Scientists.

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20 janvier 2014 1 20 /01 /janvier /2014 08:20
The Battle Over the Littoral Combat Ship Heats Up

 

January 20, 2014 By James R. Holmes - thediplomat.com

 

The Pentagon and the Navy seek to frame the debate over the LCS as the budget is written.

 

Whoa. The Naval Diplomat attempts to go on travel, and gets whiplash from the maritime news cycle. Attempted travel? You know the routine. Nighttime flight, broken airplane, every 15 minutes a sorrowful agent comes on the speaker to announce departure is 15 minutes off. Etc. Eventually I clambered into the Diplomatmobile, fired up the rocket assist, and hurtled back down I-95 to my undersea lair somewhere on Narragansett Bay. Fuggedaboutit.

So I was offline for a few hours Wednesday and missed out on big yet seemingly contradictory news from the Littoral Combat Ship world. The first LCS-related story came out of the Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Crystal City, Virginia, just outside Washington. The great and powerful from the U.S. Navy surface-warfare community assemble periodically to deliberate about weighty matters facing the service. LCS is one such matter.

The proceedings were upbeat by most accounts. Reporter Sandra Irwin assures us, for instance, that “After years of battling naysayers, Navy leaders are confident that the much-maligned Littoral Combat Ship has left its troubles behind. They insist the ship is no longer an experiment and will become a linchpin of the Navy’s Pacific pivot,” Irwin goes on to catalog statements from senior leaders to the effect that the LCS has proved itself — silencing its detractors. Take that!!!

Really?

The second story comes from the redoubtable Chris Cavas over at Defense News. Cavas reports that the Office of the Secretary of Defense “has directed the Navy to limit its overall buy of littoral combat ships to a total of 32 ships, foregoing 20 more of the small, fast and controversial warships.” That’s a cut of nearly 40 percent to the final tally (just over 40 percent of the original goal of 54 hulls). Navy officials, notes Kris Osborn of DOD Buzz, subsequently reaffirmed plans to purchase 52 of the vessels.

In short, the program’s future appears to remain up in the air as the Pentagon and the navy wrangle over the military’s budget request for 2015. Hence the clashing stories. In all likelihood they’re the outward manifestations of an internal bloodletting over dollars and fleet composition.Now let me grind an LCS-related axe. The LCS debate is a necessary one and should be waged evenhandedly. That doesn’t always happen, even in purportedly objective reporting on the program. Exhibit A: the use of terms like “naysayer” to describe those who raise legitimate objections to the concept or the hull itself. Naysayer isn’t a neutral word for someone who disagrees with you. It’s a political label you hang on someone to get people to ignore him. I would dismiss Irwin’s use of the word as lazy wordsmithing, a one-off thing and no big deal. Except that if you Google “littoral combat ship naysayer,” you’ll discover how often the term (and similar ones) has been deployed on LCS’s behalf over the years.

That looks like a tactic, not a slipshod word choice. The reciprocal tactic would be for folks like yours truly to start branding LCS backers “cheerleaders” for the program. The one group mindlessly opposes, the other mindlessly, well, cheers on its team. Yay! That sounds like an old B-movie: Naysayers vs. Cheerleaders. It doesn’t get us far, does it? Such terms have no place in serious reporting — let alone debate over a program on which the U.S. Navy has staked both its future and America’s standing as the world’s premier sea power.

But since we’re having fun with words, why don’t we rehabilitate this one? There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being a naysayer. It all depends on what you’re saying nay to, doesn’t it? As theologian and author C. S. Lewis observes, if you find yourself on the wrong road, “progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road” — in which case “the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” As with progressive politics, so with weapons programs. Yea may be the enlightened answer to some question. Or it could be a retrograde answer. It all depends on the merits of the case.

Labels also mask differences among those being labeled. I don’t consider myself an LCS naysayer, even in Lewis’s sense. More like an eh? sayer. A proposition has been advanced. I await proof. The data to reach judgment are far from complete. It’s tough to gainsay the basic concept behind LCS, namely that future platforms should be able to swap out sensors and weapons swiftly as new technologies mature. But great ideas may work in practice, they may not, or they may underperform. That’s where we find ourselves with LCS. Will the hardware vindicate the claims put forward on its behalf, letting the vessel accomplish missions X, Y, and Z?

That question remains open. And it will remain open for some time to come. For example, mine-countermeasures and anti-submarine-warfare “modules” will comprise the LCS’s main armament for hunting mines and subs. The ship will carry one module at a time, equipping it for one mode of combat. Defense manufacturers and LCS crews will test out these systems over the next few years. Neither will be fully operational before 2018, according to official estimates.

Navy spokesmen such as Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, commander of navy surface forces, voice optimism about the MCM and ASW modules’ prospects. That’s right and fitting for someone in his lofty position. But even Admiral Copeman concedes that these systems must undergo testing “to prove it to the world.” Right. Thanks, admiral!! That’s how the scientific method (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Logic_of_Scientific_Discovery.html?id=Yq6xeupNStMC) works. You make a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and draw conclusions — in that order.

No skipping ahead to the conclusions. We are all skeptics now. Or should be.

Furthermore, weapons engineers are adding an anti-ship missile to the LCS’s surface-warfare package. But that missile, the Griffin, boasts such short range (only about 3.5 miles, well within visual sight) and limited hitting power that it will only be good for knife fights, not the extended-range engagements of which many prospective adversaries are capable. You don’t want to fight at close range. Accordingly, opponents sporting longer-range weaponry may simply stand off beyond the LCS’s gun and missile range and pound away, hoping to exhaust its supply of defensive missiles or sneak a round past. This handicap will persist until something longer-legged makes its way into the LCS arsenal. When that will happen is anyone’s guess.

Bottom line, it seems the LCS program remains about where it was before this week’s flurry of news. That’s probably why its legion of skeptics has been quiet of late. It’s certainly the case with this one.

Eh?

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 12:20
Lockheed Martin-Led Team Launches Future USS Milwaukee

 

MARINETTE, Wis., Dec. 18, 2013 -- Lockheed Martin

 

The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led industry team launched the nation's fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Milwaukee, into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard.

The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Sylvia M. Panetta, christened Milwaukee with the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship's bow just prior to the launch.

"It is a true privilege to serve as the sponsor for this ship as she begins her journey of service and commitment to our powerful Fleet," said Mrs. Panetta. "I am proud to support the ship's crew members over the course of her service to ensure she leads with strength and protects our freedom. My congratulations to the city of Milwaukee as this ship assumes its name."

Following christening and launch, Milwaukee will continue to undergo outfitting and testing before delivery to the Navy in 2015.

"We are honored to continue building these critical warships for the U.S. Navy," said Dale P. Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business. "As the service prepares to retire three ship classes in this strenuous budget environment, the Lockheed Martin-team's LCS is helping to fill those gaps affordably with one flexible, technologically advanced ship suited for multiple missions."

The U.S. Navy awarded the contract to construct Milwaukee in December 2010. The ship is one of four LCS currently under construction at Marinette Marine. 

"Marinette Marine is proud to provide another finely crafted warship to our nation's warfighters, especially one that bears the name of the largest city in our home state," said Chuck Goddard, president and CEO of Marinette Marine Corporation. "With the Milwaukee, Marinette Marine Corporation is now in full serial LCS production, an exciting accomplishment made possible by our skilled and dedicated workforce and our parent company, Fincantieri's, investment of $100 million."

The Lockheed Martin-led team designed and built USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). USS Freedom recently departed from the U.S. 7th Fleet following successful multi-national maritime exercises during her deployment to Southeast Asia. USS Fort Worth has completed her scheduled maintenance period and is currently in her San Diego homeport. Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) are in various stages of construction at MMC.

Wichita (LCS 13) and Billings (LCS 15) are in the early stages of material procurement.

 

About Lockheed Martin 
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

 

About Marinette Marine
Founded in 1942, Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) is located on the Menominee River flowage into Green Bay. The largest shipyard in Wisconsin and the Midwest, MMC has delivered more than 1,300 vessels for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and commercial customers, including the technologically advanced Littoral Combat Ship Freedom variant for the U.S. Navy. In 2008, MMC along with several sister shipyards also based in the Great Lakes region, became part of FINCANTIERI SpA, the largest shipbuilder in the western Hemisphere and the fourth largest in the world. FINCANTIERI operates in the United States through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group, serving both civilian and government customers. Over the past five years, FINCANTIERI invested more than $100 million in both capital infrastructure and its resources to support MMC's transformation into what is now one of the best shipyards in the United States. Employing approximately 1,400 employees, today MMC is a state-of-the-art, full service new construction shipyard.

 

About Gibbs & Cox
Gibbs & Cox, the nation's leading independent maritime solutions firm specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design, is headquartered in Arlington, Va. The company, founded in 1929, has provided designs for nearly 80 percent of the current U.S. Navy surface combatant fleet; approaching 7,000 naval and commercial ships have been built to Gibbs & Cox designs. 

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 08:20
CRS Update: Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans

November 13, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Congressional Research Service; issued Nov. 8, 2013)

 

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans



The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget requests funding for the procurement of 8 new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the Navy’s goal for achieving and maintaining a fleet of 306 ships). The 8 ships include two Virginia-class attack submarines, one DDG-51 class Aegis destroyer, four Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), and one Mobile Landing Platform/Afloat Forward Staging Base (MLP/AFSB) ship.

The Navy’s proposed FY2014-FY2018 five-year shipbuilding plan includes a total of 41 ships—the same number as in the Navy’s FY213-FY2017 five-year shipbuilding plan, and one less than the 42 ships that the Navy planned for FY2014-FY2018 under the FY2013 budget submission.

The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. The Navy’s FY2014 30-year (FY2014-FY2043) shipbuilding plan, like the Navy’s previous 30-year shipbuilding plans in recent years, does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the Navy’s 306-ship goal over the long run.

The Navy projects that the fleet would remain below 306 ships during most of the 30-year period, and experience shortfalls at various points in cruisers-destroyers, attack submarines, and amphibious ships.


Click here for the full report (92 PDF pages) on the FAS website.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
photo US Navy

photo US Navy

 

Nov 8, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Navy

 

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Surface Warfare Mission Package successfully completed the second phase of its developmental testing, the Naval Sea Systems Command announced Nov. 7.

 

USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducted the testing at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Point Mugu range off the coast of California, Oct. 1-25.

 

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