Navy Decommissioning Ships Commonly Used In Drug Enforcement

USS Freedom (LCS-1)

Seapower Magazine is reporting that the Navy is planning to decommission nine ships in FY2021, including four LCS three of which have made deployments to the Eastern Pacific drug transit zones and three Mayport based Cyclone class patrol craft that frequently patrol the Caribbean and have patrolled the Eastern Pacific with CG teams embarked.

The recent surge in Navy assets to the Eastern Pacific, while welcome, has been made possible primarily because four escort vessels that were part of a Carrier Strike Group were freed up when the Carrier remained in port to deal with COVID-19. Have to wonder if they will continue a commitment to the mission?

Cyclone-class patrol coastal USS Zephyr (PC 8) crew conducts ship-to-ship firefighting to extinguish a fire aboard a low-profile go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean April 7, 2018. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Barney


19 thoughts on “Navy Decommissioning Ships Commonly Used In Drug Enforcement

  1. Tragically, the LCSs are practically new ships by Coast Guard standards. There are of course new LCSs coming on line regularly now, about four per year so hopefully some will be heading south.

    These are the only Cyclone class PCs based in CONUS. The other ten are based in Bahrain with the Coast Guard’s PATFORSWA. They too will probably be decommissioned relatively soon.

    • The Navy is only buying 12 Mk VIs! Far short of the original plan.

      12 Mk VIs and no Cyclone replacement. We can see the Navy’s priorities changing before our eyes. Less emphasis on the PG and much more on blue water peer warfare.

      • I find it very interesting the Mk VIs being pitched to Ukraine are being offered with 2-4 cells of LRASM.

        That capability would have to be taken seriously by the Russian Navy operating in the Black Sea.

  2. Cyclones

    tons: 341 range 2500 nmi/12 speed: 35+ Ashm /0 but 4/8? Griffin missiles (how cute) 25 mm x2, 6x stinger sam and some nice machine guns

    Reemplacment Hamina+: 500 tons, range 2500/3000/12 speed 35+ Ashm:8 Griffin too 8!, 57 mm and 2x mlg-27 and torpedos! (they put them in the 240 ton hamina so why not?!) and some nice machine guns, o and a sea ram (11 missiles)

    • Naval Vessel Register now logs them at 400 LT full so they fattened up along the way. I’d recommend a larger version of the Westport Global Response Cutter GRC43. Probably based on their 50 or 52m hulls but max out the generator capacity to add some small e-motors. Rolls Royce has some standard designs to add to the MTU engines the GRC and 50m hulls use. Buy American.

      • The goverment should make a program with shypshards to start making new ship design and continue new projects and technologies, start thinking in ships for export, make competitive products, it is sad the few and in general outdated designs from US shypshards.

  3. The LCS was supposed to replace the Cyclones. It hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t.

    The Cyclones, while limited, are useful ships.

    I’m not sure what the Navy is thinking here. There was some talk of using an FRC variant in the role. In all likelihood though, it seems the Cyclones will be retired with no direct replacement.

    • Given another cutter was entirely developed and not bought for that competition I’d like to see a competition with Westport. Cheaper to buy, cheaper on gas, cheaper on paint. Not sure how it compares if someone shoots up the hull.

      • Problem is I do not think there is a program of record to replace the Cyclones. That the FRC be evaluated was pushed by Congress, not the Navy.

        The Navy seemingly has little interest.

    • The LCSes were supposed to replace minesweepers, PGs, and FFs, and they were a predictable failure from the outset. Too big to be a PG, too small to be an FF, and a 1 trick pony for mine sweeping, so when the mission module failed, the whole minesweeping community was left “without oars.” Most miserable failure in modern Navy history.

      The Navy has always looked down their noses at “little ships.” They’ve been viewed as simple, thus easy to build and procure quickly in an emergency when funding frees up. The Cyclones and Mk.VIes are “exercises in keeping the designs up-to-date,” much like building the handful of PGH/PGMs in the 70s. The only Navy community serious about these (because they use them) is NavSpecWar and their budget only goes so far.

      • I don’t disagree with any of your points but I would think the utility of the Cyclones would be understood and appreciated by now.

        Building a replacement, something that could be built in number and constructed in second-tier US shipyards, would be good for the Navy and good for the industrial base.

        The Navy is currently enamored with USVs and is looking in that direction to fulfill some of the Cyclones duties, but that is doing it the hard and technically risky way.

      • If the U.S. Navy was serious in replacing the Cyclones Patrol Coastal boats, I would highly recommend the Juliet Marine’s “GHOST.” However, the U.S. Navy got itself into a legal limbo with Juliet Marine and the GHOST went nowhere. Griffin missiles and pop-up machine guns on a 40+ KT catamaran would make sense with the GHOST’s speed, smooth ride, stealth design, and missiles being used against small boats. Years later and the GHOST came to nothing.

        The USCG’s FRC design seems reasonable, but it’s underarmed for U.S. Navy usage.

  4. o i know that the wonder toy LCS was also the reemplacment for the Cyclones that shows that the navy doesnt think. i would use those 4 ships to test them lets see how much damage they can take! haha.

    Also the CG OPC is a mess 4500+ tons, old, ugly design and not much space (weight?) to put weapons, i would produce just a few to reemplace the ancient CG ships now, but start looking right now for a new design, smaller but more combat capable (can be made a corvette). 3000/3500 tons.

    Then add a 1500/2000 cutter x (Chuck) that can be armed as a small corvette

    and the 400/500 tons hamina+ class

    join built for the CG and the Navy (navy with all weapons and sensors from the start, CG can be upguned as needed

  5. To not replace the Cyclones is an embarrassment because the USA makes very good ship designs that can obviously replace the Cyclones with more firepower and capabilities.

    The idea of replacing the Cyclones with a specialized SEAL Patrol Coastal boat again…I just don’t see that happening because the Cyclones are meant to only transport EIGHT SEALs, which is too small a contingent for special operations. That was one of the main criticisms that the SEALs had about the Cyclones—so large a boat for only eight SEALs with no SAM (besides Stinger SHORADS), or ASM, CIWS, or EW/ECM defense…the precious and rare SEALs didn’t want to ride on it that close to shore in the littorals and hence the Cyclones became the PCs to use for small boat warfare, and not SEALs.

    One can use the Swiftships 75m OPV, the Ambassador III, or the Hamina to replace the Cyclones. It’s ironically sad and silly that NATO small boat designs are beating the U.S. Navy in terms of firepower and versatility.

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