The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The folly of the LCS class ships

A very good friend sent me an article written for Bloomberg News about the design faults and failures of the LCS Class ships.  It referenced hull cracking, severe bi-metallic corrosion problems, gun malfunctions and under performance, and other issues that I have commented on in the past.  It was almost like I had written the article, but I did not.

But, the thing that shocked me was that the authors placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Navy's Engineering Duty Officer community.  Time and time again, I have commented on the Navy's ED Mafia and their choke hold on the technical development of the Navy.  They live and rigidly enforce the "Not invented here" dogma!  If they did not think of it, or if their direct contractor did not design it and give the ED Community the credit, it does not go on Navy ships.

So, we have a big class of ships that can't do their mission, as easy as that mission was designed to be.  We spent billions of dollars on ships that can't do what a plywood PT boat of World War Two did and did well.  But, we keep building them, in two drastically different designs, from two shipyards  The parts are not interchangeable, the training pipelines are different, and the ships are equally useless.  But, we are going to purchase 58 of them!!  Another case of dumb ass!

The LPD class is the same thing, and the new LHA will be the same.  Imagine, we are building ONE LHA with NO well deck.  A class of one is useless.  All parts, all maintenance, all training, is one hull specific!

The truth is, we have not delivered a ship that meets design and contract specs since the Adams Class DDG's!  The Spruance Class came close, but required serious modification to meet their designed mission.  The CG 47 class required tons of concrete to be poured into the lower hull to increase stability!  Things like that should NOT get past the design phase!!

With the National debt where it is, we need to be good stewards of the taxpayer's money.  Any ship, aircraft, or system design should be independently tested in virtual labs, scale models, and if possible, in industry BEFORE we purchase it.

Back to the LCS ships.  The Navy has known about and dealt with bi-metallic corrosion for decades. Why would we build an aluminum hulled ship with ferrous metal connectors through it to secure the ship's propulsion system?  Why would we build 58 ships that cannot operate in the open seas?  That can't perform underway refueling or replenishment?  Why would we design a ship class that has only 7 days of station keeping capabilities?  The list of stupid design faults foisted on the Navy by the ED Mafia goes on, but no one listens.  Hopefully the article in Bloomberg News will open someone's eyes.

1 comment:

  1. "Why would we build 58 ships that cannot operate in the open seas?"

    Being rather more cynical then you my response
    is...they won't. This is a jobs program and
    when you look at it that way...it makes PERFECT
    logical sense. Sorry...had relatives and my best friend in High School in the Navy. Infuriating to realize we have come to this.