Locklin on science

Littoral combat ships are moronic

Posted in War nerding by Scott Locklin on May 26, 2022

Much like stealth fighter planes (owning a few stealth bombers, especially remote controlled ones, actually makes sense for an airforce), littoral combat ships are a moronic idea, exemplifying everything wrong with modern military procurement. This was always obviously so, and I never bothered to say much about them because I figured it was apparent to everyone who wasn’t an Admiral bribed by Lockheed. Now that even the Navy admits this, it’s time to piss all over the entire concept like the victor in a bum fight.

The idea of the littoral combat ship is …. it sits in littoral waters (aka close to the shoreline) and flings various kinds of armaments at primitive barbarians inland. They also contain helipads and various tooling to send off small teams of ninjas to pacify the cannibals you’re raining ordinance on. Because it’s the military, they wanted the things to do like sextuple duty; anti-mine duties, anti-submarine duties, surveillance, recon, maritime intercepts, coast guard duties… basically it’s a super battleship helipad which does everything that a half dozen other classes of boat usually do; by changing “modules” -something no boat in human history ever managed. This one didn’t manage it either; despite their pride in all the modules using the same internet protocol, they were never able to switch them out, and each ship has a permanent module or none at all. It was also supposed to be 1/4 the price of a destroyer, which is already pretty cheap as Navy boats go. Mostly though, it was for shelling cannibals. From 2001 until 2022 that was the main purpose in the US military. The fact that none of the cannibals we shelled conveniently placed themselves near the seaside where LCS could shell them was irrelevant. The Navy wanted in on the GWOT, and this was their way of doing justifying their share of the loot.

I guess at some point they figured the GWOT would last forever and we’d need these things to hurl shells at Somalis or something. The entire idea of its primary function is completely ridiculous. Airplanes are much better at incinerating recalcitrant cavemen who don’t want to be enriched by our vibrant democracy. They have longer range and are better able to identify and blow up targets, by, you know, looking at them. Airplanes also don’t get stuck in muddy littoral waters, nor do they hit mines. In current year, this is a preposterous throwback to Iwo-Jima days when the Navy would assist marines by shelling Japanese troops on islands.

The most obvious imbecility is the one you can see with your own eyes: it has stealth characteristics. This is moronic as any fool with binoculars or a biplane will be able to see the damn thing. It is also moronic in that it can’t be used in hostile waters; this class of ship lacks armor and defense capabilities  above the threat level of a zodiac boat, and it has no equipment for shooting at ocean going threats either. But I guess the cavemen who don’t have a rowboat with a 0.75 caliber rifle on it or a biplane have exocet missiles or something. Hence the modularity: since there were no actual shore targets of cannibals to incinerate, the Navy needed to make it good for all kinds of things. All kinds of things except, like being a meaningfully useful ocean going ship.

One of the funniest things about these floating turds: they rust. This is in part because they are giant aluminum jet skis, and the bugs on that sort of idea haven’t been worked out yet. Aluminum is generally ass for a nautical material, dropping a penny into the bilge can sink an aluminum ship. Oh and while I’m at it, one of the classes had some complicated transmission linking a gas turbine to a diesel motor to power the jet ski pumps. Of course this constantly failed. Everyone knows putting a clutch in a 50,000 horsepower drivetrain consisting of multiple engines is probably something like a bad idea.

Since the legacy boat companies didn’t have a lot of experience with large aluminum structures, these turds were sold by Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics: airplane companies. Airplane companies which had basically no experience making a boat which floats on the water, but have extensive experience with cost overruns and making complicated systems that don’t function properly. I guess this is why they thought something like a 50,000 horsepower clutch might be a good idea.

These things were supposed to be cheap to operate in part because of automation. The crews for a LCS were supposed to be around 50; maybe a quarter of what a comparable Frigate required. Since crew is one of the biggest costs of operating a boat, they’d theoretically save a bunch of money. Unfortunately all that automation also cost something, as does maintenance of all that automation. And of course, the Navy didn’t think about the fact that someone needs to maintain the automation: at present, mostly done by extremely expensive military contractors who need to be flown to whatever port where the things break down. As a result, each one of these little floating turds cost as much as a guided missile cruiser to operate, despite the guided missile cruiser having 7x the ship’s complement, and a guided missile cruiser being actually useful in the deep ocean and for multiple roles.

They made two classes of the thing; Freedom class and Independent class. Freedom class is the boring looking half steel one, Independence class the all aluminum trimaran retardation, one of which is named for a former congresscreature who is most noteworthy for having only half a brain.

The Lockheed-Martin Freedom class is the one which had difficulties with its transmission. This is absolutely fascinating in its stupidity: the thing has two gas turbines and two diesel motors; presumably so it could chug along in a cost effective way on the latter, and go really fookin’ fast using the turbines. The combining gears and clutches to make it all work together somehow are absolutely buried inside the thing. I guess Lockheed-Martin figured it would just work, despite never having done such a thing before. It didn’t work. They can’t fix it without disassembling and rebuilding the entire boat, and they got sick of the things blowing up in the middle of the ocean. Also, because Lockheed-Martin is an airplane company, they didn’t know how to prevent rust on a boat. Four of them, one of which is only four years old, will be decommissioned and left to rot in the reserve fleet. Two more are also on the chopping block; also only a few years old. This class of ship, of which there are 11 examples, has deployed a grand total of 3 missions, all of which were plagued by engine problems. Astoundingly even the Navy has decided they’ve had enough and has “paused” receipt of new examples since none of the older ones ever functioned properly. Of course they’ve done this before and unpause long enough to take on a new one here and there. Because, you know, muh boats.

The more futuristic looking General Dynamics Independence class is even more foolish. It’s a trimaran made of aluminum; something never before attempted, and of dubious utility, though it admittedly looks kind of cool. Numerous engine problems are bad enough, but the fancy-pants aluminum trimaran hulls are cracking. To the extent they can’t exceed 15 knots; making them considerably slower than the average cruise ship. None of them have actually sunk yet. On the other hand, none of them have actually managed to be deployed on a mission yet either.

I’ll throw in a scoff at the Zumwalt class “land attack destroyer” which is really an extension of the LCS concept. Also stealthy (why?), also designed to work in shallow waters. This one was even more expensive and obviously retarded, so the Navy actually cancelled most of them. Most amusing: an “advanced gun system” which while incredibly cool was also incredibly stupid. The idea was for the cannon to shoot something which had a few of the capabilities of a cruise missile: able to guide itself in a precision manner towards the target. Sounds a lot like a missile, right? Well, it’s not a missile, as it gets its energy in an actual gun, using ballistics, but it has all the complications of a cruise missile, and costs about the same, while having 1/20 the range, 1/5 the circular error probable and it costs the same as the much more capable cruise missile does per round. But it can shoot 10 of them a minute! And store 750 of the things! Or you could stick 35000 pounds of gold in the bilge. Probably be more useful and costs less. Also its stealthy hull kind of sucks in rough waters, as tumblehome hulls always do. We’ve got two of them, and no ammo to shoot out the fancy gun system. The Navy says they’ll replace the guns with hypersonic missiles, which of course, don’t actually exist yet outside of Russia.

Here have an unintentionally hilarious LARPy documentary on these floating aluminum turds:

 

 

39 Responses

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  1. rademi said, on May 26, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” (Even more worth doing right, of course.)

    Anyways, we’re in a fix where we have exported most of our practical work to other countries, which means that we don’t have sufficient skilled people to adequately inform the fabulous sales people who sell their way into management positions.

    Hopefully, some of our people have learned something useful from all this (obviously many of our people learned something from this, but a lot of that was probably useless knowledge — stuff like “building for productivity will get your outfit shut down”).

    It’s kind of dismal (aka “very zen”).

    I wish I had a solution.

    • nate said, on May 29, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      The point of military spending is the spending part, not the military part. The goal is to make money and gain political power. Whether or not you get effective “weapons systems” at the end of the spending rainbow is almost incidental. It is the pot of gold they are after, not the

      This is why the major selling point of these ships is stuff like “parts obtained from 42 states”. The important part is that the wealth is spread around to dozens of districts, not that it is stealth or important or even actually needed.

      People tend to operate under a misguided belief that the people that make up “The State” are somehow except from human nature. That is it only businesses that operate “for profit”. War, government, and warfare are all primary profit-driven enterprises. Not ideological.

      The people in charge of the Federal government are just as greedy, incompetent, status-driven, and narcissistic as anybody else you’d run into at a life insurance salesmen conference in Las Vegas.

      The major difference between what makes Walmart walmart and what makes the Federal government the Federal government is that Walmart doesn’t have the power to audit you if you don’t buy enough stuff in their stores. They can’t send armed mean to seize your property or ruin your life if you don’t buy enough of your icecream from them or fail to pay them for oil changes in your car.

      That is why you don’t see a solution to this problem:

      There isn’t any.

      • rademi said, on May 30, 2022 at 5:24 pm

        I agree that we get these kinds of problems. And, that our navy / merchant marine culture is nearly dead, because of accumulated bad laws and regulations (largely based on bad economic theory).

        However, survival is an imperative, not just for individuals but for governments. And, failing to deal with survival issues leads to blatantly obvious failures. And, we’ve plenty of people at the Federal level who are aware of these kinds of problems, and tasked to deal with them (though lack of experience and accompanying lack of foresight is still a thing).

        This of course does not mean that dealing with the consequences nor the foolishness is particularly easy, clean, nor obvious.

        And we can do a lot better than we have been…

        But I think we can “turn this ship around”. People have been trying. Lots of inertia, though…

        • rademi said, on June 1, 2022 at 1:45 pm

          But, also, I keep thinking about our surplus of bad takes — in the news, on the internet, etc.

          It seems like almost everybody “knows best” and most of that winds up being nonsense with just enough of a bite to stick. It’s kind of amazing that anything works.

        • Walt said, on June 3, 2022 at 6:04 pm

          We really can’t turn this ship around. Read about the military reform movement and “Boyd” by Robert Coram. You have one life to live and most aren’t going to spend it trying to make changes in a huge, ossified post WWII bureaucracy like the Pentagon/Pentagram. If you want to be a cog in a big machine, work in the MIC. If you want to do something with your life, the MIC is not the place it was 50-60 years ago.

          I strongly recommend “America’s Defense Meltdown (2008)” found on the Project for Government Oversight website.

          • rademi said, on June 3, 2022 at 6:48 pm

            Well, there’s basically two approaches:

            (1) We deal with basic necessities along with everything else that needs dealing with, or

            (2) We do not.

            You are accurate in the sense that currently many of us are not dealing with things, and we’ve a rising tide of problems.

  2. Michel Dyakonov said, on May 26, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Dear Scott, this might be of interest you:

    1) https://scorpioncapital.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/reports/IONQ.pdf

    2) https://dunctank.podbean.com/e/mikhail-dyakonov-quantum-hype/

    Michel Dyakonov Laboratoire Charles Coulomb cc 070 Université Montpellier 34095 Montpellier, France Phone: (33)4 67 14 32 52

    • Scott Locklin said, on May 27, 2022 at 9:48 am

      Thanks! Someone sent me this stinker recently claiming it was a “breakthrough” https://arxiv.org/pdf/2202.09372.pdf

      (TLDR, it’s not, hilariously so)

      • maggette said, on May 27, 2022 at 11:35 am

        That someone still thinks it is remarkable and in no shape or form related to the IONQ desatser 🙂

        One is a big time SPAC scam based on ridicolous claims ( and I don’t need an wanna-be hedge fund with a questionable track record to tell me that), the other (Lukin) is a really really good scientist with an actual experiments ( a rather rare trade these days). The benchmark in the paper is sketchy. But overall I think it is an interesting result.

        • Scott Locklin said, on May 30, 2022 at 1:13 pm

          BTW I’ve seen the Rigetti SPAC dox as well; very funny stuff. It was given to me in confidence so I don’t share, but at some point it will leak.

  3. Anon said, on May 27, 2022 at 2:05 am

    How dare you criticize such exquisite Eloi manufacturing. You cannot begin to comprehend the sheer creativity and artistic expression at work here.

  4. Rickey said, on May 27, 2022 at 3:01 am

    You are spot on about the LCS program. One particular example is that they were assigned to escort or provide a tether to non-combat ships operating in potentially troublesome areas, but they could not handle the sea states that the ships they were designated to protect could easily operate. The U.S. Navy used to have a class of ships that were designed to handle the crappy little jobs the LCS was supposed to fulfill, they were Knox and Perry class frigates.

    Aluminum makes sense in aircraft where weight is a major factor but serves no purpose for ship construction where high quality steel is more resistant to the effects of salt water.

    Stealth has practical applications in aircraft which may allow it to launch its weapons before being detected or at least allow it time to exit the threat envelope before it can be effectively targeted. Using “stealth” to reduce the radar cross section of a ship to a fishing boat does not gain you anything if you can still be targeted. Once a ship is detected, it will not be able to hit the afterburners and get out of Dodge. Also, ships have numerous sources of electromagnetic radiation emanating from them that can be easily detected and since they are relatively large and operate on a relatively smooth surface, they can be tracked visually with satellites or aircraft with modest technology.

    Finally, using minimum manning to save money was first introduced in the 1980’s. Any naval junior officer or chief knew it would be a complete cluster futz due to the requirements for watch standing, maintenance, damage control, training, warfare qualifications, inspections, etc. and the almost endless litany of bureaucratic collateral duties that are required of every command no matter how large or small. All it accomplishes is to burn persons out and have them separate from the navy at their first opportunity.

    • Scott Locklin said, on May 27, 2022 at 11:31 am

      AFAIK these things are just shitty frigates. I’m sort of mind boggled at how insanely bad they are, but I probably shouldn’t be. Looks like they’ll be replaced by FREMM class frigates.

      • polar guppy said, on May 29, 2022 at 3:14 pm

        So the USS Constitution is the only frigate left at this time in the US Navy?

    • Walt said, on May 29, 2022 at 8:18 pm

      I served on an OHP frigate and you’re right. They were initially designed for 180 people but the bureaucracy eventually required a crew of 230, so multiple recreation areas were converted into berthings to everyone’s annoyance. I slept in a converted passageway. Of course, the sewage and water systems were not re-designed to handle the larger crew. The frigates were designed to be missile sponges – to get in between our carriers and ChiCom/Soviet anti-ship missiles. They have two sucky hangars and a flight deck, but even the frigates were a compromise for their day. I think they’ve all been de-commissioned or sent to support drug interdiction in the Caribbean – not like we really care to win that war.

      The LCS just seems like another gold-plated debacle – multi-missions means the ship can’t do anything well but at least it’s extremely expensive. If we want to defend our littoral waters, we should have the Mexicans build us some corvettes for the terrorists and smugglers in our coastal waters. Obviously this means we will not be steaming across oceans to foreign waters with these ships. Re: LCS, stealth, low RCS doesn’t seem possible with a ship. I get that we want to counter radar-guided anti-ship missiles like the Sunburst and Silkworm, but the RCS of a ship is simply massive and we don’t need to worry about this in our brown water.

      To defend against foreign navies in our coastal waters, we can build anti-ship missiles and submarines. For blue-water patrol of shipping lanes, we need to build ships that are sea-worthy and survivable. We’re going to have to build more nuclear submarines and DDGs. We’re decommissioning them faster than we’re building them. We’ve let our shipbuilding industry decay and go over to China were the Chinese are building a big navy as well as container ships. The location of the shipbuilding industry determines the country that will be the next naval power. Right now, that looks like China except that they have massive demographic problems.

      That someone named, “Tracey Nye” is one of our tacticians tells you all you need to know about the lack of thinking in our navy. Smart, capable men will simply avoid the sea service just like they’re avoiding college and academia, and everything else. There doesn’t seem to be any will to turn this around. Perhaps a circular firing squad of nations like WWI will be the last nail in the coffin of this stupid age.

  5. Joshua said, on May 27, 2022 at 7:36 am

    Julian Assange speaking in 2011: “The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war”

    “It’s like we’re setting ourselves up for China’s success in the Pacific.” Sub Brief: YouTube Channel, a Navy Veteran pulling his hair out at the self inflicted woulds of the US Navy. Getting rid to good ships that are very important and preform functions that no other ships can do.

  6. Joshua said, on May 27, 2022 at 7:56 am

    I posted the wrong link in the last post. Here is the correct link.

  7. Todd said, on May 27, 2022 at 8:44 am

    It is a shame that nautical types never consult the galvanic series in seawater when designing their vessels. Problem started with HMS Alarm back in the 18th century and I also recall that the private yacht Sea Call (1915) was also a victim of galvanic corrosion. Many other instructive examples…

  8. Chiral3 said, on May 27, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t pretend to know anything about these things. Seems since we haven’t had a real naval war in some time they are not battle tested and also seek to idiot proof the fleet.

    Unrelated I was having a conversations last night with a friend. He’s extraordinarily mechanical, can fly anything, etc. and our conversations are usually about something engineering related. He was talking about how on old naval ships the decking was teak. This was, presumably to have stable material to walk on, but also to shield the the primary ship from direct solar heating and limit expansion and contraction through the day. Supposedly they can date the decking based on the screws that attached it to the ship. When they were first made they laboriously turned wooden plugs from the same teak and regain oriented them so that the attachment points were completely invisible. The subsequent maintenance used plugs from various wood and didn’t bother grain-orienting them. The final group didn’t even both with plugs, simply leaving the screw heads exposed. Seems rather symbolic to me.

    • Scott Locklin said, on May 30, 2022 at 1:18 pm

      To be fair just keeping teak clean is a shitload of work. Cheap craftsmen probably make things like grain orientation possible. I just want to be able to buy a new house in America with walls that aren’t made of cardboard. I realize we don’t have ready access to horse hair and lathe and wattle is out of fashion due to labor costs but it seems like they should be able to do better than they do.

  9. Altitude Zero said, on May 27, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    One of the things that makes the LCS an archetypical 21st Century American project is the obsession with attempting to save money by undermanning, or “holding down labor costs”. The Navy aren’t the only ones. Whenever I go to the hardware store, the auto shop, or the grocery store, there are two, maybe at most three, totally unskilled workers there, usually frantically busy stocking shelves, attempting to fix the battered cash registers and credit card machines, or filling out the endless forms required by the dark forces that actually own the “business”, and not in any position to do any customer service. I understand that this is partially a reaction to the overmanning that was so common in US and British businesses and other concerns in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but enough is enough. And of course, “overmanning” can be a blessing in a combat situation, what with casualties and all, but I doubt that the people who were the targets of the LCS concept were ever really expected to shoot back.

    • Keith said, on May 29, 2022 at 2:33 pm

      Good officers and recruits that believe in the causes the US military is now used for must be more rare these days as well. You better believe the lizards in charge have thought about the scenario in which they turn loose the weapons on US citizens.

      • rademi said, on May 30, 2022 at 4:56 pm

        Yeah, given some of the crazy stupid stuff some of our people do, that seems entirely plausible: Civil war is something we did once, and it’s something we might do again. There’s probably people worrying right now that internet whispering campaigns might be leading us into another one. We probably have had people worrying about civil war for the past 150+ years…

        (Also, given the gradually increasing violence induced by the joblessness from the pandemic lockdowns, I am expecting some really miserable reactions. Real Soon Now.)

        That said, military action has some rather steep limitations on what it can accomplish. Take a look at Ukraine as a current example of this principle.

        On the flip side, most of our people are pretty lazy, and most of us are about as organized as a herd of kittens.

      • Walt said, on May 31, 2022 at 5:19 pm

        I agree. In fact, Swamplings are openly calling for the use of GWoT weapons and tactics on homeschoolers and the like. Seems like this would result in the same thing here as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan – destruction of the nation-state (in this case, the US) and collapse of government legitimacy. Everyone remembers when the government was competent and now it needs troops to keep a lid on the disorder it has caused. This is roughly how things work in Mexico. If that’s the case, expect the plaza warfare there to move north here and for us to have two parallel governments: the de jure USG and the de facto cartels.

        Martin Van Creveld wrote about the collapse of the nation-state system in the ’90s. It’s looking more tattered now than then. We have some demographic momentum that other 1st world nations don’t have, but younger age cohorts are far less capable than the Boomers, Silents, and WWII generation. Buckle up.

        • Scott Locklin said, on May 31, 2022 at 8:59 pm

          Its why I don’t live there any more. I am too old to become warlord of the eastern seaboard or whatever.

    • polar guppy said, on May 29, 2022 at 3:40 pm

      “Systems engineering” has taken over engineering design and project management. The square quotes are there to indicate that I don’t think there is anything wrong with the goal of trying to improve systemic thinking. But with all good ideas, it’s been twisted. New engineering program proposals in industry (not just defense) get written by people who have specialized in … how to write engineering program proposals! Requirements are written by … requirements “engineers” (secretaries, truthfully). Knowledge of specific engineering & technology is discouraged so there is proper “abstraction” in the overall system design.

  10. […] on Science on littoral combat ships (those that wait off-shore and shell the crap out of people with the wrong ideas), which are […]

  11. anonymous said, on May 29, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    One of the first things we learned in aerospace materials class was that steel had a stress/strain threshhold below which it would basically never fatigue. If you stay below that limit, your structure won’t wear out or accumulate damage. Civil engineers making the old steel bridges that still stand were operating solidly in that range.

    Aluminum has no such threshhold. An aluminum structure, no matter how lightly loaded, is always wearing down. There are always microcracks (I think it had something to do with the surface oxide layer), and a finite lifespan.

    So fatigue would be something you would think would cross their mind when making a boat (something pounded by significant cyclic loads pretty much constantly).

    I didn’t think about the galvanic series aspect of it. I suppose you can galvanically protect aluminum with beryllium. Also I just saw that it’s possible to use actual batteries to apply a voltage to galvanically protect a structure.

    Aluminum welds tend to be weaker and much more difficult than mild steel welds. (In my own personal experience, I haven’t got the knack at all. I can ugly-to-passable steel welds that hold together. Even my prettiest aluminum welds can be pulled apart with pliers.)

    • anonymous said, on May 29, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      A boat isn’t weight limited, really. It’s pretty much the point of the medium: Water is heavy, and you can float some arbitrarily massive steel monstrosity thereon and push it across thousands of miles with not too atrocious an amount of fuel.

      So why aluminum in the first place? I suppose I could understand trying to do something in carbon fiber if you were actually trying to do stealth for real.

      • Walt said, on May 29, 2022 at 8:31 pm

        I think it’s what Scott said – the LCS contractors were given to aircraft mfers and that’s what they know how to do. The welding – as you said – is highly-specialized and maybe therefore you can charge more for it. Maybe it’s OK to build a coastal patrol boat out of it since you can find a TIG welder on land, but at sea I can’t see how you’d want something difficult to weld – this would require more training for hull technicians and ironically create a manning bottleneck in training for the sake of using new tech.

        Aluminum is brittle compared to steel and doesn’t deal as well with cyclic stresses before cracking, but the debate continues. I’m with you – just build it out of steel.

        • polar guppy said, on May 30, 2022 at 11:56 am

          Picky point, but didn’t General Dynamics start from a merger between Electric Boat (submarine builders) and another business entity? GD also purchased Bath Iron Works some time in the late ’90s. So, GD is not exclusively an aircraft manufacturer, but definitely has no excuses for naval design mistakes.

          • Scott Locklin said, on May 30, 2022 at 1:05 pm

            Might be. They usually call it Bath or Electric Boat if it’s a boat made by one of those firms. They partnered with Austal for a reason (Lockheed partnered with a shitalian boat company for same reason; I think they also own some shipyards now).

      • Walt said, on May 29, 2022 at 8:33 pm

        As the comments in the article note, aluminum is a disaster in a fire. It melts and cracks much faster than steel. Fire is the biggest danger to a ship at sea and always will be.

  12. ninefoxfox said, on May 29, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    When I see these, I always think of the original (to my historical reckoning, which recognizes the start of world history at the year 1930) littoral combat boats: PT boats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PT_boat. Worth noting that they were complete pieces of shit in the first couple years of the war, then got their kinks worked out (mostly) and were fairly effective in harassing Japanese supply missions in the islands of the Pacific Theater.

    • Scott Locklin said, on May 30, 2022 at 1:35 pm

      PT/Torpedo boats ain’t a bad idea, but they’re also 1/4 the length of a LCS. IMO the US fleet will be owned in straits and so on by something like a bunch of PT boats with missiles on them. I think the Iranians already thought of it.

      • Altitude Zero said, on June 5, 2022 at 4:04 pm

        The Egyptians (!) sunk an Israeli destroyer with missiles launched from a Soviet-built patrol boat all the way back in 1967, and I would imagine that both missiles and launching platforms have only gotten better since then.

  13. Abelard Lindsey said, on June 4, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Richard Marcinko (aka, Rogue Warrior, Demo Dick) always said that the real purpose of the littoral combat ships was to allow for more officers to make it to flag rank by having more ships for there to be more ship commanders.

    • Abelard Lindsey said, on June 4, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      Think of it as the Navy’s version of matrix management, where everybody gets to be a manager.

  14. Nemesis said, on June 5, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    As an example of the Navy doing something right and a fascinating corner of military history, take a look at the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam. This unusual “brown water” fleet was amazing: floating barracks, gun boats, logistics boats, command and control boats, and the PBR of Apocalypse Now fame. Unlike the LCS these boats were cheap and highly specialized in their role.

    In peacetime the focus is always on general purpose (i.e, “multi-role”) which leads to few, expensive, and complex platforms. But in war you want many, cheap, reliable, repairable, and special purpose ones. I doubt the Navy today could replicate what it did in the 1960s with this riverine force. Too much of what enabled the US to do it has been lost.


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