Saturday, April 24, 2010

LCS without NLOS? What good is it!


Well the news is out.  The US Army is dumping NLOS.   Read the whole thing here.  This stands out from the DoD Buzz article.

“This thing just costs too much,” said a source familiar with the decision. “It really has come down to affordability.” The technical side of the recommendation to kill the program came from two studies that considered the Army’s precision fire needs and capabilities. “If you look at if from precision fires only we’ve got some helo rockets, Excalibur artillery, MLRS and precision mortars. But, can you get those into an environment that’s mountainous and difficult to get to and self deploy them and resupply them, then the answer is no. So if you look at it from the operational capability standpoint the waters get a little more muddied,” said the source.
As currently configured the LCS will be reduced to a small helicopter detachment, a 57mm cannon and possibly a couple of 30mm cannons.

That might make a good patrol boat but its not worth the cost or the expense to put such a weak weapons load on such an expensive ship.

Do you know what's the most frustrating thing about this project?  Everyone is looking at this ship as a small boat fighter.  Its suppose to be much more than that.  Its also suppose to provide precision fires against land targets.

This is from Wikipedia.  Its concerning the current thinking of the Commandant and the NLOS missile (before it was canceled by the Army).

"James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps has said that missiles fired from the Littoral combat ship  This would not be the current NLOS-LS program as the range of the PAM missile at 22 miles falls short of the threshold requirement for NSFS of 41 miles and the number of CLUs the current LCS designs can carry in a ready to fire configuration is also short of the required volume of fire. The Loitering Attack Missile could match the required range, but its current status is unknown and the LCS would still fall short in terms of rounds ready to fire. could fulfill the USMC needs for NSFS".
Excuse my language, but if the LCS doesn't have NLOS then what fucking good is it?

UPDATE.

New Wars has an interesting conversation on alternative systems.  D.E. Riddick likes the Spike NLOS and I have to agree.  Either way a decision needs to be made quickly.

UPDATE 1.
Joe showed me  a more viable solution...if we select LCS-2.  Austal/GD has a MMC version that has VLS.
Page 4 in the brochure.
MMC Brochure                                                                    

Another thought on the Michael Yon incident.

Danger Room finally weighed in on the Michael Yon saga.  You can read the whole thing here.  What caught my attention and what hasn't be talked about enough is the unit that Michael was assigned to when his embed ended.
The troubled started earlier this month, when the military ended Yon’s embed with the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province after three months. That’s weeks — months — longer than most reporters are permitted (or want, or are able) to hole up with a single unit.

C-17 airdrop record.


Aircrew breaks C-17 record with heaviest airdrop
by Kenji Thuloweit
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/23/2010 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Members of the 418th Flight Test Squadron here set a record for the heaviest single payload ever extracted out of a C-17A T-1 during flight April 14 over Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.

A 77,000 pound jumbo drop test vehicle was extracted out of a C-17 at 25,000 feet.

The JDTV is used to test the parachutes for NASA's Ares I launch vehicle's solid rocket booster.

NASA, in conjunction with Alliant Techsystems and the United Space Alliance, is providing a decelerator recovery system for the new five-motor segment solid rocket booster. This recoverable SRB is used in support of the Ares I space launch vehicle and is heavier than the current recoverable space shuttle SRB. The increase in weight requires a larger set of parachutes for deceleration and recovery. Testing must be accomplished in order to validate the design of a new drogue and new main parachutes for the Ares I launch vehicle.

"The test is designed to collect data and to see how the parachutes react to different weights," said Ellis Hines, the 418th FLTS C-17 Ares project manager. "Once testing is completed, eventually these parachutes will be attached to the Ares I boosters."

Prior to this record 77,000-pound drop the 418th FLTS staff had successfully completed 42,000, 60,000 and 70,000 pound JDTV Ares I airdrops.

The next airdrop is an 85,000 pound drop scheduled for 2011. The test program will culminate with a 90,000 pound airdrop scheduled for fall 2011.

"We have to do this incrementally to see how the parachutes hold up," Mr. Hines said. "The ultimate goal is 90,000 pounds."

418th FLTS engineers have partnered with Boeing to analyze the effects of these heavyweight drops on aircraft ramp structural members and collect data in real time during the drops. Additionally, mission systems engineers have worked hand-in-hand with Yuma Proving Ground officials and NASA officials to develop rigging procedures for the airdrop platform and test vehicle.

This is getting good.  If the Air Force can successfully demonstrate that these heavy air drops are operationally viable then forget about the work being done for NASA...this could be a boon to both the Army and Marine Corps...particularly the Army.

With the big push toward Special Operations, the Army's enduring rapid deployment force...the 82nd Airborne...has been allowed to atrophy somewhat.  Even in the best of circumstances SOCOM needs backup.  The 82nd is tailor made to give that service...its beyond time for the Army to refocus on its Airborne Division...this heavy parachute drop might be the bridge toward an enhanced Airborne capability.

B-47. The bomber that should have served for 50 years!

The B-47 was in many ways the grand father of the modern bomber.  It was fast...faster than many contemporary fighters of the time.  It was high flying.  And...it was state of the art for the period in which it served.  With proper modifications this is the bomber that could have led the effort in SE Asia.  But alas, it was not to be.  Luckily, at least for the time being, the USAF has sought to preserve its heritage (I still have issues with their early period, obviously the time when they were the ARMY Air Corps still rubs some members the wrong way).  These are from their historical image site.

F35 JSF for Operational Testing – Britain Aquiring 3rd STOVL Model



F35 JSF for Operational Testing; Britain Aquiring 3rd STOVL Model

Wow. Didn't hear about this on the regular aviation websites. More good news. Spoofed by Google News Alerts....this is old news...apologies.....