Monday, June 20, 2016

LCS adds firepower. Street Fighter Concept is dead.

Thanks to Al Z. for the link!

Do you remember the Street Fighter Concept?  If not then check out this tidbit from Global Security...
As of mid-2001 the Office of Naval Research was considering construction of a Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons. The LCS would have a draft of about three meters, an operational range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 50-60 knots. The cost per ship might be at least $90 million.
The Streetfighter would be a smaller, very fast ship (part of the more general Streetfighter concept), that could compete successfully with the enemy for control of coasts and littoral waters. These ships are envisioned as costing less than 10% as much as current Battle Force ships, while comprising more than 25% of the total number of surface combatants [that is at least 25 but no more than 50 units].
The President of the Naval War College, Admiral Art Cebrowski, and others such as Capt. Wayne P. Hughes, have advocated the deployment of larger numbers of smaller ships to operate in "harm's way" in littoral waters. Cebrowski and Hughes talk of "tactical instability," where a navy is unwilling to risk its ships because the fleet is constituted principally of small numbers of expensive ships. They propose "re-balancing the fleet" by supplementing the currently planned large surface combatants with the procurement of smaller ships.
What brought the Street Fighter Concept to the fore?  Easy.  First you had Rumsfeld's idiotic (and for some unGodly reason followed) thinking about the war on terror.  He pushed the idea of a 100 years war AND he wanted the Navy to be relevant (in his opinion) in the fight.  Second.  Navy leadership was scared shit-less by Rummy AND they worried about relevancy (I feel their pain...Amos pushed some of the most stupid ideas on the Marine Corps by shouting the same thing...that somehow the Marine Corps was becoming irrelevant!).

Fast forward to today and what do we have?  Check this out from Fox News.
Fanta said the Navy is learning from the initial deployments and incorporating changes into a new version which will be called a frigate. The Navy also intends to zero in on one design either next year or the following year, leading to cost savings.
The Freedom class with a steel monohull is built in Marinette, Wisconsin, while the tri-hulled, aluminum Independence class is built in Mobile, Alabama.
Both were rushed into production to deal with unconventional post-Cold War threats including swarm boats and pirates. But the threats have changed again with China flexing its muscle in the South China Sea and Russia reasserting its naval presence.
Despite growing pains, Fanta sees the warships as being made more capable through heavier armor plating and shock mounting to make them sturdier, along with additional weapons.
The first over-the-horizon missile capable of hitting targets more than 50 miles away is to be installed this summer and it will be followed by tests of a second missile variant this fall, he said. Some of the capabilities will be fitted onto existing ships, about two dozen of which are either in the fleet, under construction or under contract. Eventually, the Navy plans to build 40 of them.
The resulting ship will be slightly slower and heavier, but the weapons will make enemies keep their distance, he said.
It's unclear how much speed will be lost because of the added weight.
"We acknowledge that there will be trade-offs in speed based on additional weight to support increased capabilities. That number will be defined further as the ship's design continues to mature," said Ensign Marc Rockwellpate, a Navy spokesman.
Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute said it makes sense to place less emphasis on speed. "You can't outrun a missile," he said.
In essence Street Fighter is dead.  Long live the abomination known as the LCS.  The pathetic Oliver Perry Frigate replacement that will not provide us the service that we need.

The only good thing is that common sense has returned to the Navy.  Unfortunately it took almost 20 years and millions of dollars wasted.

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