Thursday, December 17, 2015


Defense News reports that the Defense Department is cutting 12 Littoral Combat Ships from its budgeted and forecast fleet. With 40 ships now scheduled, the number is still 38 too many for a ship that cannot get to the fight, bring anything but swords and pistols or survive should a fight find it. The ship is well-nigh defenseless and therefore cannot serve as an escort, even for Marines.

The fight to keep the ship doesn't appear to have any named advocates within the Navy Department and its only expressed concern is that by whacking the number of ships purchased, the Defense Department is cutting down on the visibility of our ships overseas. Nobody is talking about diminishing the combat power of the Fleet that springs from the class if numbers of LCS are reduced. Nothing from nothing still equals nothing.

I wonder if naval officers still play tactical war games. Have any sat down and played, "Defend the Sea Lines of Communication through the Strait of Hormuz" using the absolute current 'value' provided by existing Littoral Combat Ships?

Here are excerpts from the concluding paragraphs on a monograph concerning the Littoral Combat Ships that the current Deputy Secretary of Defense wrote when he was the Deputy Secretary of the Navy and an ardent supporter of the Dindu Class*,
As stated at the very start of this monograph, however, trust in the LCS concept and
design remains low. It seems certain that this circumstance will not materially
change until LCS is in the fleet and the concept and designs are proven sound....
In sum, then, despite a rocky program start, the Littoral Combat Ship will soon be in
fleet service, and in large numbers. Designed to be a flexible, multirole component in
future Navy battle networks, LCS’s reconfigurable modular design will be a first
among Navy combatants. Indeed, because the ship is so different, much hard work
and experimentation still needs to be done to unlock its full potential. But a solid
foundation has been laid. The seaframes are steadily improving and the first
increments of three mission packages are coming along, to be followed by evermore-capable increments over the life of the ship...
The only thing of note that has changed since Mr. Work wrote that is that Russia has demonstrated some killer long range missiles fired from both its tiny warships and diesel-electric submarines. Oh, and the War on Terrorism is spreading across the entire Near and Middle East and North Africa with some concerns expressed that perhaps 6th Fleet, if we had one, could really use some warships that could support taking the fight to the enemy. Tough to do when you have to be towed into position.

LCS-6 Luring the Enemy into Pistol Range

*Dindu Class - It means what you think it does. There are still no missiles, no anti-submarine warfare sensors or weapons, no air defense systems or sensors....just metal that barely floats or moves under its own power.

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