Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Launch Of Freedom

PCU Freedom (LCS 1) was christened and launched today in Marinette, Wisconsin, today; as you can see from this photo, she made quite a splash:

Freedom is the first of a planned run of up to 60 Littoral Combat Ships; the second hull, Independence, is being built to quite a different design. I haven't been following this class of ship very closely, but CDR Salamander has; he doesn't seem to like them very much.

From my perspective, a small 3,000 ton ship seems like it's not really big enough to either give out or take any real punishment, so hopefully it'll just be involved in "presence" missions where it won't have to really fight. It'll probably look pretty through a periscope, though.

13 Comments:

Anonymous EW3 said...

While little crappy ship is a very cute phrase, the LCS is actually the kind of ship we lack in the USN right now. It has a lot to offer the surface fleet, and with the small Blue/Gold crews will be relatively inexpensive to operate. (Right now we are using Arleigh Burkes and Ticondaroga class ships for interdiction, and the Perry class are due for retirement.)
The LCS (particularly the GD version) is a huge forward step forward as a platform, but also is designed to make future upgrades easier to implement. It's all about the technology ad sensors.

9/26/2006 6:24 AM

 
Anonymous Byron Audler said...

LCS is a huge step backwards. We built a ship that won't protect it's crew from harm, and when they do get hit, they will be grossly undermanned to fight the damage and save their ship, thus breaking CAPT. Jones first rule of the Navy: Don't give up the ship.

Structurally, it's a freakin' mess. We got away from aluminum deckhouses (FFGs and CGs) and built an all steel ship (Burke DDGs) and patted ourselves on the back...good job, well done and all that. Then we turn around and build the LCS at the cost of a quarter billion a piece (yes, I didn't stutter) and that's not counting all the cool toys they will stuff into that hull, and the damn things have a steel hull and an aluminum deckhouse! STOOPID!

By definition, a warship is designed to go into harms way, and render destruction upon the enemy, and return to port, and make ready to do so again. The LCS will be unable to perform this mission, and will, like the Cyclones, become a Coast Guard ship within 15 years.

Oh, and by the way, I hear the "module" thing ain't working too good. Guess those SWOs that inputted the design forgot about weight and stability calcs, and the ugly things that does to an aluminum superstructure.

I'm heading back into the grouchy old man corner now, this ship just pisses me off when I think of it.

9/26/2006 3:24 PM

 
Anonymous Paul said...

ew3 - although they were designed for reduced manning, double crews means double the cost. Also, should check out what honest SWOs are saying about what sea swap does to surface ship maintenance.

byron - in addition to the wt of the modules, ask around as to when they'll be ready for prime time. And almost all of their warfighting is resident in aviation detatchments, nearly nothing on the hull itself.

9/26/2006 6:47 PM

 
Anonymous EW3 said...

ew3 - although they were designed for reduced manning, double crews means double the cost. Also, should check out what honest SWOs are saying about what sea swap does to surface ship maintenance

Might want to read this:
http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=25034
Double crews also means more time on deployment, so less ships are needed while nota total wash, it's not double the crew. Same logic as a boomer.
An operational LCS will have 75 members and that includes 2 helicopter crews and support, as well as mission module. That compares favorably to the 2700ton DE/FF I served on with a crew of 250. An AB has a crew of 300. So if you think of sensor deployments and patrol area covered for the size of crew, again it compares favorably.
Can't compare the LCS to the sea swap experiments so far as it's a ground up design for low maintence. We need to see how it plays out before condemming it.
The USN is far too conservative at times with respect to new things.
And as to weapons, the LCS and her helos are quite capable of holding her own in the low intensity conflicts which we spend a lot of time fighting. We don't need anymore "big iron" ships. Just look at the makeup of the USN now, it's top heavy. We have an enormous capability with VLS tubes, but we need to patrol the rest of the oceans of the world, and not all missions require huge firepower. Odds are in these kind of patrols, you'll see 2 or 3 LCS in support of 1 AB. That gives a huge sensor range.

9/27/2006 12:56 AM

 
Anonymous Byron Audler said...

OK, here's your scenario...LCS 1 is one mile off the coast of Iran, with the rest of the strike group 60 miles away, over the dark horizon. LCS is on a minesweeping mission prior to entering Bandar Abbas for invasion (hey, it's a scenario!). Sensors scream, onboard and offboard, there's multiple C-802 Silkwork launches from 3 locations. LCS1 fires both Nulkas, SRBOC launches, and SeaRam engages. 4 missiles are either destroyed, or evaded. One hits. LCS is now sinking, because there IS NO ONE READILY AVAILABLE AT BATTLESTATIONS IN DC LOCKERS, and the DC team is doing double duty as line handlers on the minesweep UAV.

If you want to launch a UAV to find and negate mines, then build a better one that can run from way offshore to the littoral. The LCS mission puts it right off the beach, and right under the guns of a notional enemy, who you must assume can honor the threat with offensive weaponry. I didn't even postulate shore-based direct fire weapons like tanks or artillery, but you can believe that any piece of beach we might be interested in will in all probability be contested by the bad guys.

Too small in all respects, not enough bark, too little bite, and no one at either building yard has come out and stated for a dead certain fact that all mission modules will on-load, interface, and operate the way the design spec says they will.

This is what we should build:

http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/nansen/

9/28/2006 11:56 AM

 
Anonymous EW-3 said...

Sorry, can't buy it.
First you'd never have an LCS 1 mile off a hostile coast. The LCS performs minesweeping ops using the WLD-1 and by helo, so the LCS would most likely be 10 miles or more off the coast.
Secondly, both the SH-60Rs would be in the air off a hostile coast. The SH-60R is a very potent helo - http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/sh-60r-specs.htm
Note her ESM is better than the most common ESM used in the fleet.
Don't forget the LCS has her own ECM as well as the RIM-116 RAM which carries at least 11 missiles
which has an enviable track record. "Subsequently, the missile has had successful intercepts in 127 of 132 production proofing and ship qualification test flights in both the US and German navies."
from: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/ram.htm
And toss in her gun, "The Mk 110 accurately fires automatic salvos of the highly lethal 57mm 3P ammunition at a firing rate of 220 rounds per minute and a range of up to nine miles."
LCSs are also expected to operate in teams, so there would be even more defense capability since they are networked ships so you are dfealing of an aggregate of RAM and guns and helos.
Lastly, I doubt we'd put any ship within even 10 miles of an openly hostile coast without AEW support, and most likely actual fighter support.

9/28/2006 3:37 PM

 
Anonymous Byron Audler said...

Uh...from launch to hit, at 10 miles, how long would it take the missile to strike?

9/28/2006 5:17 PM

 
Anonymous EW-3 said...

60 seconds. And if you are in a war footing, which you should be at that distance from a hostile coast that is plenty of time.
And even before the missiles are launched you'll know they are preparing for launch.
EW-3 (Electronics Warfare tech) was my job in the Navy. The tools they have now to counter threats missile threats are many times more capable than what we had.

9/28/2006 6:01 PM

 
Anonymous EW-3 said...

Need to correct something.
The WLD-1 has an over the horizon capability, so the LCS could sit 20+nm offshore.
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/wms/findPage.do?dsp=fec&ci=11420&rsbci=5&fti=0&ti=0&sc=400

Was not aware they had incorporated that yet.

9/28/2006 7:03 PM

 
Anonymous SDO said...

kkwprtsbI personally have worked onboard, and continue to work on LCS 1(Freedom), and I'm at a loss to find the "step backwards" as was noted here. This ship is nothing short of amazing. From the propulsion system, to the steering mechanism, to the ability to seal off ANY compartment within the ship. You could literally roll this ship, and by it's center of gravity, it'd roll right back, and still be floating. There are many afterthoughts we're adding right now, as it is the first hull produced and they are weeding out many potential problems and strengthening stress points. This is typical of a first-of-kind build. The speed and agility of this vessel is astounding given it's size. And they are NOT intended to operate alone as you stated. ANd as for the aluminum deckhouse; There is interior kevlar armor wherever needed. If that deckhouse was steel, it'd be topheavy and tip over, I guarantee it. And with all this it holds an open ended invitation to many technologies not thought of yet. It's the most spacious Navy vessel I've seen. The fact is, ANY ship, if hit by, let's say a cannon even, will take on water. You can only take on water through the hull, which is steel on both LCS 1 AND current Navy vessels. The real problematic LCS I see, is the trimaran ALL-aluminum version being constructed by General Dynamics. It's hull reportedly failed the Navy's first shock test, and needs to be reinforced before it'll pass. I think you need to wake up and give the past a rest. Lighter ships will have to be the norm as fuel prices soar, and our military is expected more every day to be ready and or react in an instant. The LCS 1 will actually get up on plane. If you look at the sheer size of the propulsion system, and then how very little draft there is(presently it's not even 10 ft deep in the water)You see that semi-planing is almost incorrect. Even the steering mechanism will work if the hull achieves near full plane. Add to the ship, new technologies not available on other vessels, and also room for upgrade not currently available on other vessels, and I don't see how you can't win. Also, that quarter billion price tag is correct, however it's a percentage of what the decrepid old vessels in the fleet costed to build.

10/27/2006 8:42 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it looks "cool"! I know I sound like an Idiot.

4/16/2008 2:37 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ew3-Even if it "floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee" making it immune to hostile fire: 22 November 1975 Belknap collides with JFK, melts and burns to the deck with 8 dead. Your fancy new rayguns can't shoot down accidents and the kevlar won't help either. Yes, I know, it has super fire suppression systems, but it sure is tough to fight your ship with an inert airspace or with AFFF up to the overhead. Moreover, AL has serious metal fatigue problems and it is very tough to weld AL under combat conditions. I also wonder how well the starwars stuff works without AC. Cold CW is not a natural law, The grumpy old ETCS(SS)will shut up now.

12/17/2008 10:30 PM

 
Anonymous lisamarieelliott said...

Thanks so much for the post, very helpful info.

4/15/2012 11:02 AM

 

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