Tag: Naval

A Cool Idea That Isn’t Going Anywhere

Saab is once again is considering marinizing the Gripen fighter for carrier use.

Technically, the airframe is already well suited to carrier use, but who is going to buy it?

The only countries that operate, or will operate, carriers with arrester gear are the US, France, China, Russia, Brazil, and India.

That’s a small market, since only Brazil and India won’t buy their own aircraft, and that is a very small production:

Based on the in-development Gripen E, the model would be capable of operating from aircraft carriers configured either for short-take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) or catapult-assisted take-off but with arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations.

“We have a fully certified design that has been signed off by Saab management for the maritime version of Gripen,” says Tony Ogilvy, head of marketing for the Gripen M. “It’s in our portfolio, but it is only a design. We have not taken it to the next critical step, which will require a customer.”

Ogilvy’s background is carrier aviation. During a three-decade career in the UK Royal Navy he flew Blackburn Buccaneers for 12 years and British Aerospace Sea Harriers for six, including from several of the service’s carriers. He contends that Saab’s model-based systems engineering approach offers a “very high level of fidelity” that should, if a Gripen M customer is obtained, result in a concept demonstrator that works well first time.


Given that Sweden has no plans for aircraft carriers, the two potential markets for the Gripen M are Brazil and India.

The Brazilian air force has ordered 28 single-seat Gripen Es and eight two-seat F-model examples, being developed with Embraer. Its new fighters will be delivered between 2019 and 2024, including eight single-seaters and seven twin-seaters built in Brazil.

The nation’s navy is also interested in replacing its retired aircraft carrier, the Sao Paolo, although this requirement has yet to be fully defined. Should Brazil’s plans for such a new vessel gain traction, it could provide an opportunity for the Gripen M.

In India, Saab, Boeing and Dassault have responded to a request for information for 57 carrier-based fighters. India has one STOBAR-configured ship, equipped with RAC MiG-29Ks, and has plans for an additional example. Longer term, it has plans for a more potent CATOBAR carrier, potentially using General Atomics’ electromagnetic aircraft launch system, as opposed to conventional steam catapults.

There is a whole flock of ducks that need get in a row before Saab can even think about putting in a serious bid.

Not gonna happen.

Cool idea though.

Aircraft Carrier Fail

The first in class Gerald Ford aircraft carrier has just been commissioned, unfortunately, it’s not ready for combat, and won’t be for a very long time, because the US Navy is deferring essential testing to the second ship in the class:

Three years late and costing $12.9 billion, the USS Gerald R. Ford finally gets commissioned today at Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia. The latest aircraft carrier to join the American fleet has been burdened with—and this may shock you, considering we are talking about defense spending—cost overruns and significant delays. Despite being commissioned, it will be at least four years before the carrier will be able to deploy and truly become part of the fleet.

Many challenges remain for the carrier as substantial amounts of construction and testing remains to be completed. In fact, one significant problem to be solved involves launching and recovering aircraft, which is the sole reason aircraft carriers exist.


Incorporating many significant changes over its predecessors, the Ford-class will have newly designed catapults and arresting gear, a redesigned and smaller island superstructure that is farther aft, a larger flight deck, new radar systems, quicker weapons elevators and 300 percent more electrical capacity from newly designed nuclear reactors.

The problem is that many of these systems are immature and have not been able to perform up to expected levels. The San Diego Union-Tribune described the construction of the Ford as “a monument to the Navy’s and defense industry’s ability to justify spending billions on unproven technologies that often deliver worse performance at a higher cost.” Despite the lip service presented by Navy and industry officials, the construction of the Ford has been something of a disaster.

To be fair, no modern warship is ready to sail off to war the day after being commissioned. Tests need to be completed and the ships need to be put through their paces to discover any abnormalities or deficiencies that may not have been discovered during builder trials, when the ship is put to sea under the watchful eye of the company that constructed the ship.

The Ford is a special case, however. So many systems are deficient and remain unresolved that the Navy does not expect the carrier to reach IOC, or initial operational capability, until 2020 at the earliest.

Once commissioned it is expected the Navy will run the Ford through a series of tests between March and November of 2018. After that, it is hoped the Navy will put the carrier through full ship “shock trials”, though language placed in the House Armed Services Committee annual defense bill last month has given the Navy an out on conducting the test. Instead, trials would be conducted on USS John F Kennedy, the second carrier in the new class.

By skipping these tests on the Ford, Navy officials hope to make the carrier available sooner for overseas operations. It was reported back in late 2015 that conducting the tests would delay the carrier’s first deployment by two years as the Navy fixed what was broken.


Two recent reports have highlighted the difficulties with the Ford, which is designated CVN 78. The first report was issued in December 2016. The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DTO&E) for the Department of Defense issued a stinging report that highlighted the many problems the ship was facing as it neared being delivered delivery.

Again, the issue here is all this unproven new tech. According to the report, “Poor or unknown reliability of the newly designed catapults, arresting gear, weapons elevators, and radar, which are critical for flight operations, could affect CVN 78’s ability to generate sorties, make the ship more vulnerable to attack, or create limitations during routine operations. The poor or unknown reliably of these critical subsystems is the most significant risk to CVN 78. Based on current reliably estimates, CVN 78 is unlikely to be able to conduct the type of high-intensity flight operations expected during wartime.”


The second report that was released earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, on Navy Shipbuilding was another harsh rebuke of the Navy’s decision to accept the Ford “from the shipbuilder in incomplete condition.”

As it stands now, according to the GAO, the Navy will spend at least an additional $779 million to complete construction of the ship and conduct tests that are required to validate the design. The GAO also echoed the earlier report in addressing the fact that the carrier will not have the necessary certifications to conduct aviation operations, navigation and cybersecurity protection and added that upon delivery the Ford will have “significant incomplete construction” where work on 367 compartments was deferred.

This should be the first example used in any definition of. “Hollow force.”

Have I mentioned lately that our current system of defense procurement is seriously f%$#ed up?

Epic Troll

Over at The Register, they discuss how the Royal Navy will maintain offensive capability now that they will have no antiship weapons between 2018 and 2020.

Their proposal is to put the biplane Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber on their aircraft carriers:

The solution to the Royal Navy’s post-2018 problem of having no anti-ship weapons is already in service and can even equip the UK’s new aircraft carriers.

The Fairey Swordfish (pictured above) is a versatile, rugged torpedo bomber first introduced into service in the 1930s. Having outlived everything introduced to replace it during the WWII, two flying examples remain in service with the RN Historic Flight.

These two aircraft could each be assigned to HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the 70,000-ton aircraft carriers due to enter naval service in the near future.

Although neither carrier has catapults (or, indeed, aircraft until the year 2021), the Swordfish is capable of taking off within 540ft at full power* with the ship steaming into a 20kt wind – which compares very favourably with the QE-class’s 920ft flight deck.

The Swordfish has a noble and proud history of delivering the Navy’s ship-sinking capability, most notably over the Italian fleet at Taranto in 1940 and crippling the battleship Bismarck later in WWII. It is a proven war-winning platform with a straightforward wood-and-canvas construction that means spares and logistic trains will cost infinitely less than the heart-stoppingly expensive F-35B fighter jet (at around $130m per aircraft, according to some estimates) which will not be able to fly from the British carriers until 2021 at the earliest.


Boaty McBoatface Lives

I still think that that the whole boat should have been so named, but I am still heartened by the maiden voyage of the remotely operated submersible:

A yellow submarine dubbed Boaty McBoatface has obtained “unprecedented data” from its first voyage exploring one of the deepest and coldest ocean regions on Earth, scientists have said.

The robotic submersible was given the name originally chosen for a new polar research ship by irreverent contestants in a public competition. Embarrassed officials decided to ignore the popular vote and instead named the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the veteran broadcaster. A storm of protest led to a compromise that allowed the name to live on.

The submarine plunged to depths as far as 4,000 metres to obtain information about temperature, water flow speed and turbulence from Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean about 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula.


Is This a Supercarrier?

Video courtesy of RT.

China has launched its first indigenously produced aircraft carrier:

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, formally named the Shandong, was launched on Wednesday in the latest display of Beijing’s growing naval power.


The carrier, which had earlier been temporarily named the Type 001A, is China’s second after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the PLA Navy in 2012.

The carrier, 315 metres long and 75 metres wide, has a cruising speed of 31 knots and a displacement of 70,000 tonnes.

It is slightly larger than the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft ­carrier, which was refurbished from the semi-completed Soviet carrier Varyag, which Beijing bought from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998.


Even though its layout is almost the same as the Liaoning, the Shandong features new equipment and a more advanced operational concept, including a bigger hangar to carry more J-15 fighter jets and more space on deck for helicopters and other aircraft.

Type 001A

USS Kennedy and Saratoga

At 70,000 metric tons (Tonnes) displacement, this ship displaces more than Forrestal Class, Kitty Hawk Class, and the John F. Kennedy at normal load, but it lacks catapult gear, which to my mind is a requirement fo be called a “Supercarrier”.

One of the thing that I find interesting is the size of the island.

The superstructure is MUCH larger than those for the now retired) US conventional supercarriers.

My guess is that the air defense suite for the Type 001A is rather more extensive than those of US carriers, and that this additional island space accommodates more types of radars as well as launchers for missiles of a type that are typically carried by the carrier’s escorts in a US carrier group.

The Chinese are very early in the process of learning how to operate a carrier battle group, and so are providing capabilities on their carrier, at the expense of deck space and (possibly) sea keeping, that the US has found to be superfluous.

The Pentagon Acquisition System in a Nut Shell

The GAO wrote a report detailing the massive cost overrun for its over priced and under performing Littoral Combat Ship.

This information was promptly classified to prevent public disclosure:

The Pentagon office that reviews information to determine whether it’s classified has blocked publication of potentially embarrassing data on cost overruns for the first two vessels bought under the Navy’s primary Littoral Combat Ship contracts, according to a new congressional audit.

In a report examining Navy shipbuilding contracts, the U.S. Government Accountability Office deleted overrun information on two of the Littoral Combat Ships launched in late 2014 — the USS Milwaukee built by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the USS Jackson built by Austal Ltd. — at the request of the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review.

The GAO said the Defense Department “deemed the cost growth” on both vessels “to be sensitive but unclassified information, which is excluded from this public report. However, the percent difference” in cost for each ship “was above target cost.” Other types of ships were listed with specific data on cost increases that ranged from 4 percent to 45 percent.

“This seems to be an overly broad reading of competition-sensitive information,” said Mandy Smithberger, a director for the Project On Government Oversight’s military reform initiative. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for these overruns. They deserve to know the costs.”

We desperately need to get the military out of the business of defense acquisition, as the Swedes have with FMV.

Something Else the F-35 Needs

A new wing:

The head of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) says the outer wings of 32 carrier-based C-models need to be replaced to carry the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder, the aircraft’s primary dogfighting weapon.

The U.S. Navy variant experienced an undisclosed amount of oscillation or turbulence during flight trials with the AIM-9X in December 2015, and Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan says aircraft already delivered need to be retrofitted with strengthened wings.

“It was discovered the outer, folding portion of the wing has inadequate structural strength to support the loads induced by pylons with AIM-9X missiles during maneuvers that cause buffet,” Bogdan says in written testimony to Congress on Feb. 16.

Engineers have already produced an enhanced outer wing design, which is now undergoing flight testing. The issue has impacted the timeline for fielding AIM-9X, which is being rolled out for the Navy in Block 3F. “Once the new design is verified to provide the require strength, the fix will be implemented in production and retrofitted to existing aircraft by swapping existing outer wings with the redesigned ones,” Bogdan writes.

The AIM-9X is the heat-seeking sidekick to the Raytheon AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. Without it, the F-35 would be incapable of high off-boresight shots at close range. Because of a seven-year schedule delay, the fifth-generation fighter will carry air superiority missiles that are one generation behind its legacy counterparts, which are already carrying the newest AIM-9X Block II and AIM-120D.

It can’t dogfight, it can’t use the current generation of missiles, 2 of the 3 variants do not carry a gun, the software is a mess of spaghetti, it cannot hit moving targets, and it costs an arm and a leg and several toes.

This deal is getting better and better.

This Should Surprise No One

Russia has just completed an agreement with Syria expanding their access to the Syrian port of Tartus:

Russia and Syria have signed an agreement this week to expand Russia’s sole foreign base – a naval repair facility in Syria – into a larger naval base capable of permanently hosting 11 ships, according to the agreement issued by the Russian government.

The agreement — signed on Wednesday – would allow the Tartus installation to expand to berth larger surface combatants and submarines, according to Russian state-controlled press reports.

“The deal stipulates that 11 Russian vessels can be present in the harbor of Tartus at once, including the ships equipped with nuclear marine propulsion, provided that nuclear and environmental safety guidelines are respected,” read a report in the Kremlin-controlled Sputnik wire.

“Russia promises to send to Syria, at its request, specialists to help restore Syrian warships and will help organize the defense of the harbor of Tartus and help mount search and rescue operations in Syrian waters.”

This is not surprising.

There was always going to be a quid pro quo for Russia’s support of the Assad regime.

We Used to Make Things That Worked in This Country

Now, after a development timeline that stretches back into the last century, the US Navy still cannot get it’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) to work:

The US Navy is having difficulties with its latest aircraft carrier’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) – the same system which the UK mooted fitting to its new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

The US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed yesterday, in its end-of-year report [PDF] for financial year 2016, that the EMALS fitted to the new nuclear-powered carrier USS Gerald R. Ford put “excessive airframe stress” on aircraft being launched.

This stress “will preclude the Navy from conducting normal operations of the F/A-18A-F and EA-18G from CVN 78”, according to DOTES, which said the problem had first been noticed in 2014.

In addition, EMALS could not “readily” be electrically isolated for maintenance, which DOTE warned “will preclude some types of EMALS and AAG (Advanced Arresting Gear) maintenance during flight operations”, decreasing their operational availability.

Ignoring the obvious 1970s era joke, “Gerald Ford stumbles again,” this is a complete cock up.

The selling point of EMALS was two fold, that it could be tailored to reduce stress on airframes, and that it would be more reliable than its predecessor.

It appears not to be delivering these features, and it is behind schedule and over budget.

This sh%$ really has to stop.

It Really Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

The F-35, of course.

In this case, it is the C model, intended to operate on carriers.

First they had to relocate the arrestor hook because it did not work, and now pilots are experiencing violent oscillations during catapult launch🙁paid subscription required)

Fleet pilots say the violent vertical oscillations seen during carrier launches of the U.S. Navy’s F-35 variant are a safety concern, even as the Pentagon races to fix the problem.

One of the most critical and dangerous phases of flight for Navy pilots is the launch, when an aircraft is shot from the carrier by a steam-driven catapult. For the F-35C carrier variant, pilots discovered a complex problem during recent at-sea testing: excessive vertical oscillations, or a bouncing effect, during takeoff.

Pilots who conducted training onboard the carrier USS George Washington during the latest set of ship trials said these oscillations were “a safety concern,” the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) wrote in its most recent annual report.

“Excessive vertical oscillations during catapult launches make the F-35C operationally unsuitable for carrier operations, according to fleet pilots,” DOT&E wrote.

Pilots reported the oscillations were so severe that they could not read flight-critical data, DOT&E said. The oscillations caused most pilots to lock their harness during launch, which made emergency switches hard to reach. The pilots deemed this situation “unacceptable and unsafe,” DOT&E wrote.

The Navy has informed the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) that it considers this problem a “must fix” deficiency.


[Program Chief L. General Christopher] Bogdan downplayed the problem, saying the oscillations only occur at very light gross takeoff weights.

The first thing to note is that Gen. Bogdan is Air Force, and either has no clue as to carrier ops, or is pimping the F-35 furiously without regard to the truth. (Or both)

Light weight takeoff are routine.  They are used for things like pilot qualification and freshers and ferrying aircraft to and from land bases when the ship returns to port.

The second thing is that they have been doing catapult launches of the F-35 for about ½ a decade now, and they have only now just spotted this.

At this point, I expect the software to start shutting down with the plane issuing the verbal notification “Baba Booey.”

Your Tax Dollars at Work

It doesn’t float, it’s just so ugly that it repels the water

2 weeks ago, I noted that the extended range munition which was a large part of the justification for the new Zumwalt class destroyers was too expensive to procure, and now we discover that the latest whiz bang ship broke down because it leaks:

The Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced guided missile destroyer had to be towed from the Panama Canal after experiencing “engineering issues,” a spokesman for the service said Tuesday in a statement.

The USS Zumwalt, which cost $4.4 billion, will remain at Naval Station Rodman, a former U.S. base in Panama, to repair problems that surfaced this week while the ship cruised to its new homeport in San Diego, said Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a spokesman for the Navy’s Third Fleet. He said it was unclear how long the ship would remain in Panama.

“The schedule for the ship will remain flexible to enable testing and evaluation in order to ensure the ship’s safe transit to her new homeport,” Perry said in a statement.

USNI News, a publication of the U.S. Naval Institute, reported the ship was in the canal when it lost propulsion. Crew members also saw water intrusion in bearings that connect electrical motors to drive shafts, it reported.

The 610-foot-long Zumwalt was billed as the most capable surface combat ship in the world when it was commissioned last month in Baltimore. But the most recent issues were not the first it has faced since it left shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine in September.

The Zumwalt suffered a similar seawater leak in September and another unspecified engineering problem in October, according to USNI News.

This is becoming a bit of a theme in US defense procurement, and if it continues, it’s going to get very ugly.

Our Broken Military Industrial Complex

One of the justification for the Zumwalt class destroyers is that they would be able to engage in shore bombardment up to miles inland using their advanced cannon.

In any case, its capabilities proved too expensive, so only 3 ships are going to be constructed, and now we learn that the high tech shells that were to allow for long distance shelling have been canceled because they were too expensive:

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the US Navy’s latest warship, commissioned just last month—and it comes with the biggest guns the Navy has deployed since the twilight of the battleships. But it turns out the Zumwalt‘s guns won’t be getting much of a workout any time soon, aside from acceptance testing. That’s because the special projectiles they were intended to fire are so expensive that the Navy has canceled its order.

Back when it was originally conceived, the Zumwalt was supposed to be the modern-day incarnation of the big-gunned cruisers and battleships that once provided fire support for Marines storming hostile beaches. This ability to lob devastating volleys of powerful explosive shells deep inland to take out hardened enemy positions, weapons, and infrastructure was lost after the Gulf War’s end, when the last of the Iowa-class battleships were retired. To bring it back, the Zumwalt’s design included a new gun, the Advanced Gun System (AGS). As we described it in a story two years ago:

The automated AGS can fire 10 rocket-assisted, precision-guided projectiles per minute at targets over 100 miles away. Those projectiles use GPS and inertial guidance to improve the gun’s accuracy to a 50 meter (164 feet) circle of probable error—meaning that half of its GPS-guided shells will fall within that distance from the target.


The “less cost” part, however, turned out to be a pipe dream. With the reduction of the Zumwalt class to a total of three ships, the corresponding reduction in requirements for LRLAP production raised the production costs just as the price of the ships they would be deployed to soared. Defense News reports that the Navy is canceling production of the LRLAP because of an $800,000-per-shot price tag—more than 10 times the original projected cost. By comparison, the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $1 million per shot, while the M712 Copperhead laser-guided 155-millimeter projectile and M982 Excalibur GPS-guided rounds cost less than $70,000 per shot. Traditional Navy 5-inch shells cost no more than a few hundred dollars each.

When we are discussing the subject of swamps that need draining, the Pentagon should be at the top of the list.

What is Flat and Glows in the Dark?

The world during Hillary Clinton’s first term.

Here’s a an under-reported bit of war-mongering from one of Hillary’s speeches to the Vampire Squid:

US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has said the US could claim the Pacific Ocean as an “American Sea” if China claims all of the South China Sea, according to excerpts of her speech contained in hacked emails revealed by WikiLeaks.

In a speech the Democratic candidate gave to bankers from Goldman Sachs in October 2013, she said the Chinese “have a right to assert themselves” in the South China Sea but the US needed to “push back” to keep Beijing from getting a “chokehold over world trade”.


In the paid speech to Goldman Sachs, Clinton said she confronted Chinese officials about the South China Sea during her tenure as secretary.

“I said, by that argument, you know, the United States should claim all of the Pacific. We liberated it; we defended it. We have as much claim to all of the Pacific. And we could call it the American Sea, and it could go from the West Coast of California all the way to the Philippines.”

She said in the speech that she had told her Beijing counterparts the Chinese claims to the South China Sea were based on “pottery shards” from “some fishing vessel that ran aground in an atoll somewhere”, whereas the US claim to the Pacific would be based on “convoys of military strength” in the second world war and the claim Americans “discovered Japan”.

She described this line of reasoning as “one of the greatest arguments that I had”.

Clinton said that as the debate became “more technical”, the Chinese said they would claim Hawaii, and that she had countered by saying the US had proof of purchase.




We are so screwed.

China Working on a Conventional Aircraft Carrier

Note the towbar on the front gear

They are already in the process of developing a CATOBAR variant of the Flanker:

China has stepped up development of Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations for its carriers, with the appearance of a Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne fighter with CATOBAR apparatus and continued construction of supporting land-based infrastructure.

In mid-September photos surfaced online of a J-15 with what appears to be a catapult launch bar on its nose wheel. These are used to couple the aircraft to the catapult of the carrier during the launch sequence, and would be the latest indication that China’s rumored third aircraft carrier will utilize the CATOBAR system of aircraft launch and recovery.

It is not clear whether this aircraft is a new-build prototype for the CATOBAR J-15, or one of the six original J-15 prototypes modified with a new nose wheel. Also noteworthy is that this J-15 is powered by the indigenous Shenyang-Liming WS-10 Taihang turbofan. Although already in widespread use with China’s land-based J-11 fighters, the Chinese engine has never gone to sea during trials and operations on China’s current sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning.

This is not a surprise.

While getting the operations right (an aircraft carrier deck is a dangerous place) is a non trivial matter, the basic technology of steam catapult launches is over 60 years old.

As an aside, the Chinese are proceeding on this incrementally, so I would rather expect that their 1st carrier with a catapult to be in the size range somewhere between the Clemenceau (25,000 T) and the Charles de Gaulle (48,000 T) size, much smaller than a typical supercarrier (~100,000 T).

I would expect China to field a CATOBAR carrier as a part of a full carrier group in the next 7-12 ears.

LCS is Raison d’Etre Abandoned, Ships Will Still Be Bought

At the core of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) design was the idea that they would have combat modules that could be swapped out to convert the ships between surface warefare (SuW), mine counter-measures (MCM), and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) versions on the fly.

This was why the US Navy bought them, even though there were much larger, and more expensive, but no more heavily armed than existing corvettes.

In fact, they are the size of frigates, about 3000 tons, but carry a 57mm gun equivalent to the armament of a corvette, which typically displaces around 1500 tons.

There were a number of problems with this, among them the fact that there was no way to make the logistics work without the ship having to return to the United States to make the swap.

So you ended up with a bloated and overpriced ship, and now the USN has admitted that swapping mission modules is never going to happen, but (surprise) they will continue to buy more of these warships:

When the first Littoral Combat Ship launched a decade ago this month, the U.S. Navy expected it to herald a new class of inexpensive, agile fighting ships with a radically new “modular” design — allowing them to swap out bundles of weapons, sensors and crews for different missions.

So if the LCS needed to fight other warships, hunt submarines or search for mines, sailors could quickly install distinct modules for each mission, although only one at a time. Don’t worry, the Navy promised, it’ll work.

It didn’t.

On Sept. 8, the Navy announced that it is effectively abandoning the LCS’ modular concept for 24 of the ships in both the Freedom and Independence-class variants. The initial four ships — which are already in service — will become testing vessels.


That means these new, multi-purpose vessels will become … single-purpose vessels.


In reality, costs ballooned to more than $500 million per ship — twice the original estimate. They are fast. However, the modules don’t work. Instead of taking a few days at most to replace them, it takes weeks without extremely precise planning. That’s far from assured in peacetime, let alone during a major war.

The 3,000-ton LCS is heavier than first planned — and it’s poorly armed and vulnerable to anti-ship missiles. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing and evaluation, described the LCS in 2013 as “not expected to be survivable” in combat.

But the Navy is still going to buy as many as 40 of theses ships.

Your tax dollars at work.