DefenseNews is reporting that “Pre-preliminary design and system selection for the frigate will be completed in October 2015,” Chris Johnson, a spokesman with the Naval Sea Systems Command, said May 28.
I don’t think it should be too much of a stretch, that the systems on the OPC should include a subset of those to be used on the frigate, with another subset of the frigate’s systems planned into the ships for inclusion if conditions warrant the upgrade. Design for Wartime, but equip for peacetime.
This does not look good for the LCS’s mine countermeasures module.
This may be the multi-function radar that will end up on the OPC. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3299
DOD is telling Navy to cut the number of LCS/frigates to 40 from 52. If that happens, most of the cut is likely to be in frigates, 20 currently planned, does this mean they will get only eight.
Since the Navy is already committed to a multi-year buy, they may decide this is a mistake because backing out will cost too much.
If it does happen, the Navy will still be short of surface combatants. Perhaps the OPCs will be the basis for a future Navy combatant.
What the latest status on the OPC program?
Info here. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2015/12/16/more-ships-than-the-program-of-record/
Unless Hillary wins and keeps Carter around as SecDef (which is entirely possible) then this directive won’t mean anything. Even if Carter is still SecDef in a couple years I am skeptical that the LCS buildout will be curtailed at either yard because I don’t think either the Navy or Congress will go along with that.
It is frustrating that the procurement system isn’t more nimble. It seems like mix of a downscaled LCS and a uparmed LCS might be more desirable than 52 equally equipped LCS. But there are so many chefs in the kitchen, that they can’t seem to decide on what they want. Hagel and Fox wanted an uparmed LCS, apparently some of the working groups now want a downscaled LCS. Now apparently Carter wants less LCS period, and says it won’t affect fleet size, but doesn’t explain how the subtraction of 12 hulls won’t effect fleet size.
Meanwhile we have 13 patrol boats that were built 20 years ago that are being used heavily, and 30 year old Cutters deployed in the Persian Gulf. It seems like the Navy buying a dozen FRC’s, putting a griffin system on it, and maybe a CIWS, would be a no brainer. That will fill some of the missions they tell us the LCS is desperately needed for. If the Navy doesn’t need the FRC’s a decade from now, take the missiles off and turn it over to the Coast Guard, who we know will need as many hulls as they can get.
Some of the presence and capability problems could be solved if our procurement system was more flexible. You sure as hell couldn’t run a business if you had to have a working group and a two year study every time some of your requirements for a piece of equipment changed.
My opinion of what we need in the Persian Gulf is no doubt influenced by my brief exposure to planning for sending 110s there during the Tanker wars to escort tankers that were being harassed by small craft.
Since then I have become convinced that it might be a good idea to mount SeaRAM on Webber class and use them to protect high value units transiting the straits of Hormuz from cruise missiles.
As for countering small craft, I think there would be value in adding smoke generators, to provide smoke screens, since so many of the Iranian weapons are aimed visually. It would also make it much more difficult for small boats to make a coordinated attack.
Griffin or Hellfire of course also looks like a good idea.
More bad news for the LCS–GAO recommends delaying FY2016 funding: http://www.marinelog.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=10273:gao-calls-for-hold-on-fy-2016-lcs-funding&Itemid=223
If you can not get a Vanilla LCS ship operating properly, how are you going to get a up gunned LCS working properly? Don’t put the cart before the horse.
You may have heard USS Milwaukee had a breakdown that required her to be towed back to port. Apparently it was software problem, but there was an interesting comment that an emergency stop was not part of the acceptance trials–would have though that would have been a normal requirement. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2016/02/07/lcs-milwaukee-lockheed-martin-navy-breakdown/79870610/
commissioned a 110, if I remember correctly we did emergency stops during trials. we also did them in gitmo on the previous uss Milwaukee. hell of a show. things falling off everywhere.
Navy Draft RfP for Littoral Combat Ship Follow-on Frigate Due to Shipyards this Year.
Another LCS major machinery casualty. https://www.navytimes.com/articles/lcs-montgomery-suffers-engineering-problems-at-sea-days-after-commissining
More “bad luck” for an LCS. I have to admit I may have dented a ship or two, but they did not open cracks. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/uss-montgomery-suffers-a-second-hull-crack