Littoral Combat Ship
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Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) . The definition of littoral is "region along a shore". Now that threats against the deep water navy are reduced , the new "buzz" is for naval capability in shallower coastal regions.
One of Each :
Freedom (LCS-1) design by Lockheed Martin.
The new design ship in 2004 was of 1,000 tons [it doubled, then tripled], about the size of a WWI-era destroyer or gunboat, perhaps more reminiscent of LSM(R) equipped for shore attack with guns, mortars and rockets.
Early expectations were that the new ship is likely to be a catamaran
to operate as a floating truck, relatively small and able to run at high speeds in shallow water. It would carry one or more "mission modules" designed for jobs ranging from mine-clearing to cargo-hauling. The modules are to be quickly interchangeable, so that an anti-mine module can be lifted off the deck and replaced in a few days with one equipped with anti-submarine weapons or provisions that could be ferried to Marines operating ashore.
The Navy expects to run each ship with a core crew of perhaps 20 sailors. Specialists would come aboard with each module.
Competing for the ship production are General Dynamics, which is offering a three-hulled trimaran based on an Australian design ; Lockheed Martin, which is proposing a more conventional monohull design ; and Raytheon, which is suggesting a "surface effects ship" that rides on a cushion of air, like the Landing Craft Air Cushion. The Navy hopes to choose from among the three designs in May'04. The five-year shipbuilding plan calls for 13 ships with a goal to buy 56.
28May'04. Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics awarded LCS final design contracts . pics
15Dec'04. Lockheed Martin awarded contract for detail design and construction of the first Flight 0 LCS with target launch 2006. The Navy plans to build a total of four Flight 0 LCS.
This is the conventional hull version. We are led to think of the original design as a super PT-boat, but the ship built is the weight and length of -- and is easy to think of as -- a late WW2-era destroyer. Compare the advancement in 64 years.
Sumner (DD-692), 1944 : 3,200 tons; 376 ft, 41' beam, 14' draft; 36 knots,
Freedom (LCS-1), 2008 : 3,239 tons; 378 ft, 57' beam, 13' draft; 40+ knots.
Other world navies would call them Corvettes
Also contrast with Sea Fighter FSF-1 and with Stiletto on next generation page.
Displacement: 2135 tons (light), 2862 tons (full) ; As delivered, overweight, 3,089 tons, full 3,139,
Length: 378' (oa), 324' (wl) ;
Beam: 57' (extreme), 43' (wl) ;
Draft: 13' (navigational draft), 14' draft limit ;
Propulsion: Two gas turbine engines, two propulsion diesels, two (4?) waterjets ; Hull: steel ; Superstructure: aluminum ;
Speed: max 59 kts. ; [ builder's trials only say greater than 40 kt.]
Range: 1500 nm at 50 knots, 4300 nm at 20 knots .
Complement: 26 + mission crew .
Armament: 57mm gun, hellfire missiles and machine guns.
02June'05. Keel laid by Marietta Marine, Marietta, WI.
30Oct'05. Crew arrived for cross training
09Jan'06. A contract for Mission Packages has been awarded.
There will be three modules for plug-and-fight capability that will go to sea aboard LCS.
Mine Warfare (MIW) module will provide remote minehunting and airborne mine neutralization.
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) module provides high-quality acoustic surveillance
and weapons aboard unmanned surface vessels. 18Sept'08 rolled out.
Surface Warfare (SUW) includes a 30mm cannon and surface to surface missiles.
Cargo mission no longer mentioned.
To commission and arrive at homeport San Diego, early '07. Doesn't seem to have happened.
25April'07, a fire at Marietta Marine, damaged LCS-1 during outfitting of the vessel. Freedom, only 80% completed, sustained significant damage.
28July'08 builder's trial [pic]
18Sept'08 accepted by Navy, to christen soon, then deep sea trials off Norfolk.
08Nov'08. Commissioned. Home port San Diego.
08Sept'09. LCS-1 completed 2nd post commissioning refit. Begins firing exercises.
13Oct'09. Freedom (LCS 1) to be deployed in early 2010 for anti-pirate operations, two years ahead of her originally scheduled 2012 maiden deployment.
31Jan'10. Arrives Mayport, FL, to ready for Caribbean drug interdictions. 22Feb-11Mar'10 makes three drug captures on maiden deployment. April arrives San Diego.
June'10 deploys in fleet programs.
March'11 Continuous maintenance at San Diego. July - Sept'11 in yard to repair crack in hull.
March'13 Deployed to Singapore.
Jul'13. USS Freedom was forced back to its base in Singapore after diesel generators overheated while participating in international exercises ; replaced and returned to games.
Independence (LCS-2) Designed by General Dynamics.
Specifications: trimaran ;
Displacement: 2176 tons (light), 2784 tons (full) ;
Length: 416' (oa) ; Beam: 104' ; Draft: 13' ;
Hull and superstructure: aluminum .
Speed: 44 knots ; Range: 4,500 NM ;
Core Crew 40 (8 officers, 32 enlisted) .
Armament: 57mm gun, hellfire missiles and machine guns.
19Jan'06 keel was laid.
Expected Completion, October 2007. Doesn't seem to have happened. Now expected for July 2009. pic7 pic8 pic9
28April'08 launched. July'09, Builder's trials. Two years late and over budget by 300%, $220M went to $704M.
Nov'09 Acceptance trials. Dec'09 Navy acceptance.
Commissioned 16Jan'10. Sail away date 26Mar'10 to Norfolk for tests.
06May'10 New equipment fitting at Norfolk. Aug it fuels up. Then plan is to homeport San Diego. Video 2:15, Flash, high speed connection required.
March'11 undergoing test and trials in Mayport, Fla. [pic] Apr'12 to San Diego.
LCS Council of Admirals is established to assure LSC program is fixed.
Feb 2013 Council issues plans and is to stay in existence.
13March'09 . LCS-3 Courage /Fort Worth and LCS-4 Coronado have been named with construction planned to start in the next year.
Courage (LCS-3) Contract was awarded June 26, 2006 . 12Jan'07 construction was stopped at Lockheed Martin for cost over-runs on LCS-1. Resumed and stopped again (terminated) 13Apri'07. Intended to be faster and more maneuverable than the alternate design, we note the promised speed has been reduced from 59 knots to "over 40 knot".
Lockheed Martin (LC-1 and -3) is the conventional hull design with high performance specification and should be the easier to estimate. The General Dynamics (LSC-2, -4) is radically new trimaran hull (narrow main hull with two smaller outboard hulls aft) has much larger helo deck space.
LCS-4 : The Navy is terminating construction of the fourth littoral combat ship following a series of cost overruns on LCS 2.
Both designs have been criticized for giving up fuel / range for speed that will be little used, measured in hours. These boats should be of interest to USCG/homeland security for chasing drug runners. One study says seven LCS can perform anti-piracy patrols in the Western Indian Ocean replacing 20 conventional ships for a quarter of the cost.
18Sept'09. Comparison program canceled for economic reasons and a selection of one design will be made in Fy'2010 and that contractor awarded 10 ships for 2010-2014 and alternate vendors qualified. Target of 55 ships remains.
In addition to new duties, the aging 25 Frigates (1979-89) , 14 Mine Sweepers (1987-1994), and 10 Patrol Craft (1993-95) must be considered, plus
uncertainty of replacement of 22 Cruisers (1986-1994) and 60 Destroyers (1991-2011).
4Nov'10. Navy seeks Congressional approval of contracting for ten ships from each vendor for delivery of 20 ships in 2010 to 2015. Funding approved Mar'11.
April'11. LSC-1 also had a waterjet replaced and welding failures repaired.
April'11. Competition will award ten-ship block to one vendor and 5-ship block to the other. Later: Authorized ten of each design.
Freedom Variant. odd numbered
Conventional design by Lockheed Martin.
Freedom (LCS 1)
Commissioned 08Nov'08. Home port San Diego.
After post-commissioning repairs, Freedom deployed to Singapore Spring 2013.
Purpose of the deployment was to uncover weaknesses to improve future ships. Several flaws
were uncovered to this end.
30Nov'13 Guam, coming home from 9-month deployment.
Will be home by Christmas. Returned 23Dec'13.
11July'16. Mechanical seal leak let seawater enter the engine lube oil system damaging Main Engine #2.
Fort Worth (LCS-3) is to be a semi-planing monohull of 2,862 tons (full load), 378 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 57 feet, draft 13 feet, and will make speed in excess of 40 knots (45). Keel laid 11July'09.
June'10 said to be at halfway point. Waterline length increased, greater fuel capacity.
07Dec'10. Christened, 80% complete.
07Oct'11. Builder's trials Builder's trials Mar'12. Second round builder's trials Apr'12. Acceptance trials 4May'12.
06June'12. Accepted by the Navy. Sail-away Wisc to Texas 06Aug'12
12Nov'13. Performed test of surface warfare (guns) package to track and destroy small boats.
30 minute video
15Nov'13. Test and launch MQ-8 FireScout helicopter UAV. Which model -- B or the bigger C?
10Mar'14. Operational testing and evaluation of its surface warfare mission module.
15Nov'14. Deploys to Singapore for 16-month tour.
Milwaukee (LCS-5) named 21Mar'11, keel laid 27Oct'11. Listed 379' oa; 2862 full tons; 45 knots
Launch and christening 8Dec'13. Expected to be delivered in Aug 20
1415 (new design of waterjets).
Accepted 16Oct'15. Comm 21Nov'15. Breakdown, towed 11Dec'15 (metal chips in lub).
The third ship of each model is expected to incorporate fixes from the experience with the first. Home port Mayport, FL, 2017
Detroit (LCS-7) 27Oct'11 keel laid. 378', approximately 3,000 tons, 40+ knots. Sched April 2015. Launched 18Oct'14. Completes acceptance trials 22July'16. Accepted 12Aug'16. Comm 24Oct'16. Home port Mayport, FL 2017. Combat System Ship Qualification Trials 15Mar'17.
Little Rock (LCS-9) named 15July'11. Keel 27Jun'13. Launched 18July'15. Sea Trials F'16. Accepted 25Sep'17. Comm 16Dec'17.
Sioux City (LCS-11) named 23Jun'12. Keel 20Feb'14. Christened 30Jan'16. Listed at 378', 3,000 tons, 40+ knots. To comm 17Nov'18
Wichita (LCS-13) named 12Apr'13. Christen 17Sep'16. Acquired 22Aug'18. Listed 379', 2,862 t; 45 knots.
Billings (LCS-15) named 7Jun'13. Launched 1July'17. Accpted 4Feb'19 Listed at 378', 3,000 tons, 40+ knots.
Indianapolis (LCS-17) named 16Aug'13. Christen 14Apr'18 Listed at 388', 40+ knots.
St. Louis (LCS-19) named 20Apr'15. Laid down 12May'18,
Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21) named 03Sep'15. Keel 22Feb'18.
Cooperstown (LCS-23) named 25Jul'15.
Marinette (LCS 25) named 22Sep'16. Keel 30Mar'19
Nantucket (LCS 27) named 13Feb'18.
Beloit (LCS 29) named 9Oct'18.
Cleveland (LCS 31) named.
FF-37 or is it FFG-33? New Design frigate , formerly Small Surface Combatant. SCS
Independence variant even numbered Trimaran design by General Dynamics
July'11. LSC-2 has suffered from galvanic corrosion caused by an aluminum hull in contact with stainless steel propulsion system housing in the presence of sea water. Corrosion resistance had been deleted ; required extensive replacement and fitting with sacrificial cathodic protection. Fixed for LSC-6 design.
Pic of LCS 2 & 4"
2May'2012 Completes maiden voyage to San Diego. Drydock at Nassco Sept'12 thru March'13.
May 2013. Testing mission modules. 30 minute video
10Mar'14. Undergoing Mine Countermeasures developmental testing.
30Jan'15 to Pensacola for prolonged operational testing.
Coronado (LCS-4) is aluminum trimaran built by Austal. 2,784 full tons ; Load 608 ton ; length: 418 feet (oa) , beam: 104' , draft: 13' ; speed 47 knots ; crew 40 (8 O, 32 E) plus up to 35 mission crew, blue and gold teams.
17Dec'09 Keel laid
03Mar'11. LCS-4 is 50% complete
14Jan'12. Coronado (LCS-4) christened. Sea trials later this year.
Oct 2012. [pic] Not happen -- fire.
13Jan'13. Both diesel engines caught fire during pre-delivery builder's trials.
28Aug'13. Complete acceptance trials.
27Sep'13. Accepted by Navy.
27Jan'14. Depart Mobile for San Diego. Arrived Mar'14.
Comm 05April'14 in San Diego.
22Jun'16 Independent deployment to Western Pacific
30Aug'16 Engineering casualty while transiting to the Western Pacific. (4 days out of Pearl and after RimPac.)
Returning to Pearl Harbor under her own power.
Jackson (LCS-6) named 25Mar'11. L 418', beam 104', draft 13' ; 2,200 tons, 40+ (47) knots; complement 40 core plus up to 35 mission crew.
Construction began 01Aug'11.
Launched 14Dec'13. Christen 22Mar'14. Sched delivery June 2014. Accepted 11Aug'15. Comm 5Dec'15.
The third ship of each model is expected to incorporate fixes from the experience with the first and represent first production models.
Montgomery (LCS-8) named 25Mar'11. Keel Oct'12. Launch 18Dec'13/6Aug'14. Christen 8Nov'14. Builder's trials completed April'16. Acceptance trials, Accepted 24Jun'16. Comm 10Sep'16. To home port in San Diego. 17Mar'17 completed final contract trials. 6-mo after commissioning.
Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) named 25Feb'12. Keel 16Apr'14; Christen 13Jun'15. Completed Trials 20Dec'16. Accepted 23Dec'16.
Sailaway 12May'17 Comm 10Jun'17 in Galveston.
418', 2,300 tons, GT 40 knots.
Omaha (LCS-12) named 25Jun'12. Listed as 418 feet', approx 2,300 tons (2,784 T full), 47 knots. Launch 20Nov'15. Christen 19Dec'15, again 10Sep'16. Accepted 18Oct'17. Commissioned 3Feb'18.
Manchester (LCS-14) named Apr'13. Christen/Launch 7/12May'16. Accepted 28Feb'18. Comm 26May'18.
Tulsa (LCS-16) named 07Jun'13. Listed as 418 feet', approx 2,300 tons (2,784 T full), 40+knots. Keel layed 11Jan'16. Christen 7May'16. Again 11Feb'17. Accpt 30Apr'18. To SF 22Nov'18. Comm 16Feb'19.
Charleston (LCS-18) named Jan'15. Christen 26Aug'17. Accepted 31Aug'18.
Cincinnati (LCS-20) named Jun'15. Laid down 10 Apr'17. Christen 5May'18,
Kansas City (LCS-22) named July'15 .Laid down:15Nov'17. Launched 19Oct'18.
Oakland (LCS-24) named Aug'15. Laid down20July'18
Mobile (LCS 26) named Sep'1 . Keel 17Dec'18
Savannah (LCS 28) named 13Feb'18.
Cleveland (LCS 30) named 8Oct'18.
Santa Barbara (LCS 32) named 9Oct'18.
Augusta (LCS 34) named 31Jan'19.
Kingsville (LCS 36) named 4Feb'19.
Pierre (LCS 38) named 4Feb'19.
Armorment. One 2.2" machine cannon, 200rpm for surface and air with ammunition to 5-minutes of fire ; two 30mm chain-guns (1.25") plus four 50 cal machine guns. 1 SAM laucher. Each carries two helicopters and a drone. These ship's main defense is stealth and speed. The surface warfare package installs a mix 30 and 50 cal machine guns for anti-small boat defense. The mine warfare and antisubmarine modules add helicopter towed detectors. An irregular warfare module has been budgeted for 2012 development -- this is assumed to be small boat launch capability. Cargo mode is no longer mentioned.
64 mission packages have been ordered for 56 ships. With only 8 packages to rotate, we can assume most LCS will have a fixed role.
LCS Squadron One (COMLCSRON ONE) homeported in San Diego with USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), and the future Tulsa (LCS 16).
LCS Squadron Two (COMLCSRON TWO) homeported in Mayport with Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS-7), Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11), and the future Wichita (LCS 13), Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17) and Saint Louis (LCS 19)
Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Upgrade test (v6) of
capabilities Dec'14 aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1) off San Diego. -- 25Nov'14
Report for Congress -- USNI , 21June'12
Deployment Plan : 16 month deployments with crews rotated every four months. Homeport of all (first 6) is San Diego.
Three Mission Packages : Prototypes have been delivered for Surface Warfare, Anti-Mine, and Anti-Submarine.
Deficiencies were found with each. Updated equipment will be installed in increments. Research funds are in short supply. Final deployment is now expected :
Surface : 2017. Short range missile battery was inadequate, new missiles to be developed.
AntiMine: 2017. Airborne capability could not detect undersea mines.
AntiSub : 2017. The initial version requires the LCS to stop to deploy ASW gear.
During WW2 the time from the first test flight of the F4F Hellcat until combat at Marcus Island was 14 months.
20Jun'13. Reliability testing of LCS remote minehunting system (RMS) completed. Ready to begin development.
From the first sea trial of the Proximity Fuse in Chesapeake Bay till Helena (CL-50) shot down a "Val" off New Georgia was 5 months.
Survivability : "LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment."
16Jun'11. "The pentagon has waived the statutory requirement for full-up system-level survivability testing the LCS because it would be 'unreasonably expensive' and 'impractical' ..."
LCS is considered suitable for "operation in the least severe environment, away from the area where a battle group is operating or the general war-at-sea region. These vessels should be able to maintain good handling in bad weather and should have systems for fighting fires on board, ..." Same survival rating as "patrol, mine warfare and auxiliary ships and craft."
"overall survivability in combat ...[is]... the LCS ability to use speed, munitions, helicopters, radar and other things to bear upon a potential surface-combat scenario"
Certainly not the same class as replacement for frigates. Other nations might call this class of ships as "sloops".
Teething Problems : LCS-1 developed 6" cracks in the hull in heavy weather. LCS-2 has corrosion problems. Each is said to be
corrected in the third ships in each series.
LCS Council established 22Aug'12 made up of four Navy vice admirals to oversee continued fleet testing and introduction of littoral combat ship (LCS) sea frames, mission modules, and mission packages.
22July'13. CNO Review of LCS
LSC is not a small frigate for war fighting, but not just a patrol boat.
The current capabilities fall short of requirements.
Moduals take a while to change, likely to remain fixed to a ship.
The number of assigned sailors is inadequate to maintain required systems and seaframe.
Required to pull into port frequently to replenish, crew rest, and to conduct maintenance.
Lengthy training pipeline between 18 and 24 months.
Two seaframes are more expensive than one.
I suggest fixing each of the three functions to the more suitable of the two seaframe designs. Thus three ship-types instead of two ship-types with each trying to perform three tasks. Perhaps type PL for the surface warfare version ; PM for mine warfare ; and PS for anti-submarine.
23July'13. GAO Recommends Navy Pause LCS Program. Besides cost overruns and missed schedules, the frames and modules have not been shown to perform their tasks.
We are already down 12 ships that these are supposed to replace.
A blog posting makes some sense.
The concept of putting only a slightly better than civilian hull on something the navy theoretically intends to send into harms way is certain to end badly (especially given the super high priced $400M/sea frame - not counting the "mission package"). The better option is to simply give these ships to the Coast Guard, and court martial the "leadership" that approved this program.
Since other navies are able to build stealthy, full military hulls, in the same weight class, with much better armament and protection for 1/3 less than the LCS: the US is getting a tin-plated ship at gold-plated price.
It would seem the best way to correct the problems with the LCS would be to cancel the orders and cut our losses. However, since common sense does not prevail and they are determined to continue this reaming of the US taxpayers while they flagrantly disregard the safety of the sailors that are being ordered to man these unimpressive floating lemons, all they are doing is throwing good money after bad.
The Navy hopes to build as many as 52 LCS ships, meaning they hope to make 52 mistakes, and the only victory these ships are ever likely to produce is for the beneficiaries of a flagrant navy corporate welfare program.
Before we rebrand these as Little Coastguard Ships. Among the most populous vessels of WWII were the
little ships -- patrol boats, ocean escorts, subchasers, and mine craft. There is a role for them and
consider that PT boats did some damage in the Pacific just as E-boats did in Europe. It is just hard to be comfortable when the surface navy seems to be going to two extremes : aircraft carriers vulnerable to missiles and patrol boats vulnerable to machine guns. There are no surface fleets to fight, so less need for floating fortresses. The Sullivan brothers knew their little ship was vulnerable, but the urgencies of war
demanded that a little ship go into battle with the big boys. Lets hope we have enough good men to make the most of what little remains when the capital ships are stripped away on the first day.
27Mar14 . CNO tells Senate, "I want better survivability."
Aug'14 . Reevaluation underway. LCS fleet was trimmed in the fiscal year 2014 budget to just 32 ships. "Littoral Combat Ship Will Be Modified, If Not Replaced". Note that six Ghosts could be procured for the price of one LCS. Navy brass seem to be justifiably concerned that real warships would not be funded if smaller ships are authorized.
14Nov'14. LCSRon 2 established Mayport, FL. To include LCS 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19.
LCSRon established San Diego, CA 15Feb'07 to include LCS 1, 2, 3 , 4.
Dec'14 . SSC, Small Surface Combatant is a combat capable upgrade to the Littoral Combat Ship. Proposal accepted by Sec Nav of study team of weaknesses of LCS which is considered as a "little coastguard ship" that is not survival in a hostile environment. Current production will stop at 32 vessels and the remaining 20 authorized to be of new variant that is both surface and anti-sub capable and more survival. Timetable is 2017 budget and 2019 authorization. Current design LCS (with 6 variants) will be used for anti-mine warfare. and other duties. -- 12Dec'14 .
The little released information implies that this is an excuse to include upgraded technology which is not allowed with the way authorizations are written. Most of the 32 authorized have not be started, thus over a dozen inadequate vessels will still be built at taxpayer expense and delay start of the slightly better ships. It also says this ship will be lighter and with increased armor which sounds like a contradiction that only works on paper. Are there any blue prints still around for Gearing class destroyers?
January 2015 . Proposals received call for increasing the length to 410 feet, add missiles, bigger radar, and up the gun from 57MM to 76MM. The Navy announced that the up-gunned LCS will be reclassified as a "frigate", since the new requirements to upgrade the ships with frigate-like capabilities. Hull designations will be changed from LCS to FF ; existing LCSs back-fitted with modifications may also earn the FF label. A rose is a rose is a frigate. If the idea is to scare an enemy with a name change (the new ones will still be smaller than a Coast Guard security cutter), maybe these partrol boats should be called battle-cruisers.
Apr'15 . To accommodate extra gear on the enhanced LCS "FF" design, the mine-hunting systems (crane, etc) are being removed and the high speed sprint capability done away with. It looks like
the existing LCS will become dedicated to anti-mine and with the improved design to surface and anti-sub roles. Some of the newer electronics will be installed in the remaining LCS.
Dec'15/May'16 . Report to Congress. The program has been divided from 52 ships to 32 and 20. Thirty-two will be completed per contract with the last 8 to be upgraded as block 1 design. The next 20 will be of one design, larger, called a frigate. Mine clearance portion has been scrubbed writing off $98M of failed development. The existing 11 MCM (mine countermeasures) will be retained (comm 1989-94) exceeding life expectancy. Required efforts to reduce weight in frigate to accommodate a bigger gun include innovations such as reducing fuel capacity.
18July'17 . Request for Information: FFG(X) - - US Navy Guided Missile Frigate Replacement Program:
RFQ : to support Sea Sparrow and HellFire Missiles. 57mm Gun. 28 knots. 200 crew max. (SeaRam replaces 57mm, reduced to 30mm)
2018 - LCS variant, called a Frigate or FF, by 2019. The new modified ship will simultaneously be configured for surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare
(dropping the modules idea). The last 20 ships in a planned fleet of 52 LCS are to be equipped with additional lethality and survivability technologies. The plan to continue the 50-to-50 split between the two shipyards with upgrades not waiting until 2019.
16Feb'18 . Navy awards design contracts for FFG(X)
Five contenders selected/awarded design contracts.
The companies are Austal  and Lockheed Martin with their adaptations of littoral combat ship designs ; Huntington Ingalls Industries with its offshore patrol cutter-based frigate design (pic) ; Fincantieri Marinette Marine with the FREMM frigate-based bid (pic) ; and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Navantia based on Navantia’s Aegis frigate (pic).
All five contenders received $14.9 million contracts to complete the designs by June 2019.
The first FFG(X) is expected to be ordered in 2020 and one in 2021 continuing with two ships per year from 2022 for 20 ships.
Major warfare systems that the navy would like include an Aegis-derivative COMBATSS-21 combat management system, a C4I suite, an Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), Mk53 Decoy Launching System (Nulka), a SeaRAM Mk15 Mod 31 in addition to a UAV and an MH-60R helicopter. And vertical launch cell for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and/or Standard Missile-2.
01Aug'18 . Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). New -- In maturing specifications the FFX is to be a part of emerging ship-defense technologies of “netting” sensors and radar technologies from disperse forces needed to respond to fast-emerging near-peer forces : to identify and destroy threats such as anti-ship missiles, drones and enemy aircraft; i.e. be a node in a network of defence and offence. A move back toward "blue water” with timetable for deployment moved out to mid-2020s.
The Navy has said the frigate will relieve larger ships from “the stress of routine duties during operations other than war.”
01Apr'19. Looking like delay in determining what a Frigate is will cause two or more old design LCS to be ordered, reducing the number of future Frigates. Recall the first six LCS were unacceptable and had to be reworked. Better to get it right, avoiding another LCS fiasco, but delay is expensive, too, in dollars and defense capabilities.
Surface Combat Ship.
Apr'11. Lockheed Martin has offered an Aegis Combat System equipped LCS variant - as a missile defense radar picket - to a number of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia.
Austal has proposed a much smaller and slower trimaran, called the 'Multi-Role Vessel'. Though it is only half the size of their LCS design, it would still be useful for border protection and counter-piracy operations. See Austal MRV
LCS developed from Sea Fighter FSF-1, a twin hull design about one third the size of the initial LSC concept.
Ghost. Prototype built by Juliet Marine Systems. The Ghost uses a gyro-stabilized dual-pontoon supercavitating hull to ride at high speed above 10 foot waves.
Comparison of Ship Types
USS New Frigate (LCS-33) 2023 Disp: _,___ ; Len: ___ ; Speed: 28 kt.; Engines: 2-gas turbine?; Comp: 200; 1- 30mm gun ; SeaRAM and HellFire Missiles.
USS Independence (LCS-2) 2008 Disp: 3,100 ; Len: 418 ; Speed: 47 kt.; Engines: 2-gas turbine ; Comp : 88 ; 1- 57mm ; SeaRAM.
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 2008 Disp: 3,890 ; Len: 378 ; Speed: 47 kt.; Engines: 2-gas turbine ; Comp: 107 ; 1- 2½" ; RIM-116.
USCG Bertholf (WMSL-750) 2008 Disp: 4,500 ; Len: 418 ; Speed: 28 kt ; 2-diesel, 1 gas turbine ; Comp: 113 ; 1- 2½".
USS Oliver Perry (FFG-7) 1977 Disp: 4,100 ; Len: 408 ; Speed: 29 kt ; Engines: 2-gas turbine ; Comp: 176 ; 1- 3".
USS Sumner (DD-692) 1944 Disp: 2,200 ; Len: 376 ; Speed: 34 kt ; 4 boilers, 2 st. turbines ; Comp: 345 ; 6- 5".
USS Fletcher (DD-445) 1942 Disp: 2,100 ; Len: 376 ; Speed: 36 kt ; 4 boilers, 2 st. turbines ; Comp: 273 ; 5- 5".
The current LCS type is not to be confused with LCS, Landing Craft Support, of late WW2. That LCS was 230 tons, 158-feet, armed with, 1- 3", 3 twin40mm guns with 130 built as a variation of the LCI, landing craft infantry.
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Testimony March 2012
Testimony March 2011
USN Program Status 2010 180 page PDF.