“BEWARE BUYER’S REMORSE: WHY THE COAST GUARD NEEDS TO STEER CLEAR OF THE LCS” –CIMSEC

USS Freedom (LCS-1), decommissioned 29 Sept. 2021.

CIMSEC has a post, written by a serving USCG engineer, about why the Coast Guard should not take on the Navy’s unwanted Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). For this discussion, it may be important that you see the author’s qualifications.

“Lieutenant Joey O’Connell has served aboard two Coast Guard cutters as an engineer. He is currently a Medium Endurance Cutter (MEC) port engineer, planning and overseeing depot-level maintenance on the aging MEC fleet. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and two masters degrees—one in naval architecture and the other in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “

It appears the author makes a convincing case, but I would add additional caveats.

The maximum range of the Freedom class, on their installed diesels, is about one third that of the Offshore Patrol Cutter and about half that of the over 50+ year old 210 foot Reliance class WMECs. That is totally unacceptable for typical Coast Guard operations.

The semiplaning hull required to allow the Freedom class to make its exceptionally high speed does not handle rough seas well. The resulting fatigue will limit the performance of the crew, and ship’s motion can preclude helicopter and boat operations in demanding environments. Earlier evaluation found that the OPC could conduct boat and helicopter operations in conditions when the LCS could not.

While the Freedom class have spacious aviation facilities, I have seen very little about their boat handling facilities and these are a cutter’s main armament for law enforcement. They might require extensive rework. Video from USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) below:

11 thoughts on ““BEWARE BUYER’S REMORSE: WHY THE COAST GUARD NEEDS TO STEER CLEAR OF THE LCS” –CIMSEC

  1. The LCS-1 in fact does have transom doors from which it launches a 40′ RIB. However I can see where rage will be an issue.

    • I think the 11 meter RHIB is probably the one in the video. Still it is not clear how safely, quickly, and easily, their arrangement works in a seaway or adverse conditions compared to that on the National Security Cutter or the system that will be on the OPCs or how hard it is for them to put two boat in the water. Their track into the water does not appear as steep as that on the NSCs. In fact the working deck appears relatively close to the waterline.

    • We should also consider the mistake, in my opinion of acquiring the C-27’s instead of finishing the C-144 procurement. The C-27’s are more expensive to operate and leaves the CG with 2 medium range fixed wing aircraft that cause the CG to have an additional logistics chain to manage and less flexibility for moving aircraft and crews when needed for operational support..

      • We never did get as many medium range fixed wing aircraft as originally planned. If I remember correctly, we are four short of the program of record. I think the gap is being filled by more C-130s.

  2. The author compared the LCS to the OPC. Perhaps the question might be, should the LCS replace the WMECs until the OPCs are completed? That process is not expected to be completed until 2038. The answer to that is probably also no. Our WMECs, despite their age, appear to be as reliable and more economical to run, than the LCSs while being at least as effective.

  3. Pingback: “BEWARE BUYER’S REMORSE: WHY THE COAST GUARD NEEDS TO STEER CLEAR OF THE LCS” –CIMSEC — Chuck Hill’s CG Blog | Ups Downs Family History

  4. The only way to make the LCS ver viable for the USCG is to remove the water jets and replace them with a Combined diesel or gas or Combined diesel and gas system

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s