AHC: Better warships over the LCS?

What ships would you choose as a successor to the FFG Oliver Hazard Perry Class over the ill suited and under armed Littoral Combat Ship?

My choices:
ANZAC/ Meko 200 variant
RN Type 23 variant, modified for Mk.41 VLS and 76mm Oto Melara
Modified and enlarged Halifax Class
 
Knowing the USN, it'll be a clean sheet design rather than a modified foreign design. Off the top of my head, if the USN knows they'll get the funds to build both a dedicated frigate class and minesweeper/layer/gunboat class the frigate will probably be somewhere around 5,000 tons, equipped with a 76mm gun (possibly even a 5"/54 if the budget is there), bow and towed array sonar, AEGIS combat system, AN/SPY-1F radar, Prairie/Masker, 40 cell strike length Mk41 VLS, RIM-116 point defense missile launcher, 2-4 30mm Bushmaster chain guns and hanger space for 2 SH-60 helicopters Gas turbine propulsion, top speed probably 33 knots give or take
 
A simple ship that doesn't try to reinvent the wheel and to do every single little thing would suffice. The ANZACs worked for us.
 
Yes.

But with a crew of 300 odd that's 6 Littoral crews

And at $3 billion a pop (flight 4) you could buy 7 or 8 Littorials (about $360 million each beyond the initial pair)

And of course they can be in several places at once.

So also no.

I guess the real question is what do you need them to do?

There does seem to me to be a great deal of confusion as to the true role of the Littorials granted they cannot do all of the jobs a fully leaded Arleigh Burke DDG can do but I imagine a great deal of the job DDGs have done in the last 30 years could have been done by a Littoral FFG.
 
But with a crew of 300 odd that's 6 Littoral crews

And at $3 billion a pop (flight 4) you could buy 7 or 8 Littorials (about $360 million each beyond the initial pair)
And that one DDG packs more firepower than all 6 LCS combined. So it's still a better option to buy one DDG than it is to buy 6 LCS. Plus, lifetime costs are lower on the DDG since you're only maintaining one ship, not six.

And of course they can be in several places at once.

So also no.
Only when they all work. Which given the program track record, won't be that often. And as previously mentioned, they don't have the firepower (or survivability) for independent operations. So you'll probably end up having to send a DDG anyway.

There does seem to me to be a great deal of confusion as to the true role of the Littorials granted they cannot do all of the jobs a fully leaded Arleigh Burke DDG can do but I imagine a great deal of the job DDGs have done in the last 30 years could have been done by a Littoral FFG.
Such as? They don't carry Tomahawks, so they can't conduct land attacks. They don't carry ASMs so they can't conduct ASUW. They don't have sonar so they can't do ASW. And they don't have AAMs, so they can't escort a flattop. That leaves anti-piracy. And they don't have the reliability for that kind of deployment.
 
I think that the Absalon class would be a good starting point since its flex deck provides much of the flexibility that the USN was hoping for in the LCS and could support 36-48 ESSM using ExLS, 8 anti-ship missiles and up to a 127mm gun. Though I imagine that since it tops out at 24kts the USN would want to replace the MTU 8000 diesels with LM2500's or at least double the number of them since the same basic hull design is used in the Iver Huitfeldt's with four MTU 8000's which get up to 30kts.
 
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So it's still a better option to buy one DDG than it is to buy 6 LCS. Plus, lifetime costs are lower on the DDG since you're only maintaining one ship, not six.
Or perhaps to buy 3 frigates that can perform the job of a DDG w/o having to send a DDG? I think it is agreed upon that he modern combat environment is far too dangerous for a over glorified OVP (LCS), yet some tasks may not be important or warrant enough to send a DDG. The USN really goofed up on not choosing a balanced frigate design to replace the OHP class.
 
Or perhaps to buy 3 frigates that can perform the job of a DDG w/o having to send a DDG? I think it is agreed upon that he modern combat environment is far too dangerous for a over glorified OVP (LCS), yet some tasks may not be important or warrant enough to send a DDG. The USN really goofed up on not choosing a balanced frigate design to replace the OHP class.
I think that it's a shame that the rules of the FFG(X) precluded BAe's Type 26 design because I think that it would have been ideal. Though part of me thinks that was the point of the competition rules precluding it.
 

CalBear

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Yes.

But with a crew of 300 odd that's 6 Littoral crews

And at $3 billion a pop (flight 4) you could buy 7 or 8 Littorials (about $360 million each beyond the initial pair)

And of course they can be in several places at once.

So also no.

I guess the real question is what do you need them to do?

There does seem to me to be a great deal of confusion as to the true role of the Littorials granted they cannot do all of the jobs a fully leaded Arleigh Burke DDG can do but I imagine a great deal of the job DDGs have done in the last 30 years could have been done by a Littoral FFG.
And, yet, because of the idiot design flaws of both LCS classes, the Navy has flatly stated that they will need to be protected by a DDG or CG because they can't protect themselves even in a medium threat environment. So now you are spending $350M a pop for a ship that can't protect itself, can't withstand the standard USN shock test, lacks many of the mission module that were supposed to make it useful, and STILL needs that $3B a pop DDG to make sure some fool with a WW II surplus Fletcher class DD doesn't blow it into the afterlife (which, BTW it could do to half a dozen LCS before they even got into range of their entirely ineffective against WW II destroyer hull 57mm gun (one per ship). God help them if the enemy has actually managed to add some sort of SAM, then their helos won't even be able to resuce any of the survivors from the "littoral waters". Good news is that the survivors will probably drift to shore, assuming the enemy is playing by the rules (just how often do enemies of the U.S. play by any rules, at all?).

Every single LCS that is commissioned is 350M USD thrown into a hole in the water.
 
Making the Type 23 work for American weapons would probably involve completely re-wiring and re-designing the thing, so yeah, scratch that idea.

The ANZAC or Halifax wouldn't have that problem, but the Halifax is massively under-armed for many frigate jobs because it was (and is) meant to ASW and patrol duties at which it excels. The ANZAC is a pretty good piece of hardware for the job though, but the not-designed-here issue would crop up for pretty much everything.

And yeah, pretty much every vessel the USN has built since the Arleigh Burke class seems to have been less of a warship and more of a profit-support-program for defense contractors. The Zumwalt has been a maintenance challenge and cannot use its main guns (yes really) and the LCS....I mean where the fuck do you start? CalBear pretty much explained all of its many problems.
 
How about going with a existing US design but update it. Nothing wrong with the Treasury class cutters.
If you're going that way start with the Legend-class cutters, two generations down from the Treasury class. You would have to figure out a way of expanding it to equip it with better weapons (it has no provisions to ASMs or air-defense weapons), but that's I'm sure a possibility.
 
If the US decided it wanted a mean as hell coastal defence force and a 355+ ship navy, dropping four billion-ish on a hundred Skjold class corvettes could be fun. Eight "Wolfpacks" of four stealth corvettes armed with eight anti-ship missiles, a 76mm gun and capable of up to 60kts constantly patrolling both coasts might present a fairly formidable hurdle for surface ships.

Though you'd need a lot of oilers to keep them out there. :winkytongue:
 

Driftless

Donor
And yeah, pretty much every vessel the USN has built since the Arleigh Burke class seems to have been less of a warship and more of a profit-support-program for defense contractors.
A common issue across the board for US military procurement. The major contractors have mastered the art of getting sub-contractors in every key congressional district, so support is based on local economics more than national security.
 
If you're going that way start with the Legend-class cutters, two generations down from the Treasury class. You would have to figure out a way of expanding it to equip it with better weapons (it has no provisions to ASMs or air-defense weapons), but that's I'm sure a possibility.
The Legend Class is a contender in the FFG(X) Program iirc. Just slap a Mk41 VLS onto it and you got yourselves a well balanced frigate.
 
Or perhaps to buy 3 frigates that can perform the job of a DDG w/o having to send a DDG? I think it is agreed upon that he modern combat environment is far too dangerous for a over glorified OVP (LCS), yet some tasks may not be important or warrant enough to send a DDG. The USN really goofed up on not choosing a balanced frigate design to replace the OHP class.
That's what I was trying to describe up thread. Basically a cut down Burke serving as a multimission frigate.
 
If the US decided it wanted a mean as hell coastal defence force and a 355+ ship navy, dropping four billion-ish on a hundred Skjold class corvettes could be fun. Eight "Wolfpacks" of four stealth corvettes armed with eight anti-ship missiles, a 76mm gun and capable of up to 60kts constantly patrolling both coasts might present a fairly formidable hurdle for surface ships.

Though you'd need a lot of oilers to keep them out there. :winkytongue:
The USN would probably prefer to have a well balanced ocean going vessel, although the thought of zerg rushing your opponents with Skjold class corvettes is undoubtedly hilarious.
 
Personally I'd have joined the French and Italians in the FREMM project and use the same hull with different weapons and sensors since that is basically what the USS is possibly going to do anyway in the FFG(X). That or team up with the RN and build the TYPE 26. As for the LCS if it was up to me the entire program would be scrapped and in their place a decent minesweeping platform made to fill the one role a decent frigate can't do of all the roles the LCS's were supposed to do. Although assuming you drop the very high speed of the design to say 24 knots to lower costs and make the design more robust and have a longer range using the saved weight the Independence class design does have the space for a minesweeping helicopter and mine hunting UUV/AUV(if the USN developes/buys one that is)with a limited ability for self defense with a CIWS and a 57/76mm gun
 
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Functionally you need something modular or multiple designs. Since the LCS exists because the USN was almost certain they would not be able to get multiple designs, you need to go modular. Now remember what the LCS is actually supposed to do
  1. Sweep Mines and be able to self deploy to do so, not requiring tugs/lift ships. This is necessary because some asshole with an old freighter can lay mines anywhere on earth so you can't rely on prepositioning slow minesweepers
  2. Chase Diesel Subs in shallow waters
  3. Deal with "Ye Iranian Boghammer Swarm"
  4. Do show the flag, anti-piracy, counter terror, counter drug peacetime ops so the DDGs and CGs don't have to
Nothing that requires any significant combat abilities. #1 doesn't need any armament, there would be a DDG/CG riding shotgun if in contested areas anyways. #2 Basically needs sonar, countermeasures and a pair of SH-60's, and SVTT, VL-ASROC optional. #3 Autocannons and light missiles that can outrange a 107mm Rocket Launcher and lots of them, plus Helos are exceedingly useful. #4 A gun of 40mm+ and a helo

So base fit 57mm Autocannon for commonality with Coast Guard, Hangars for 2 SH-60 class, Helo deck reincforced for MH-53, a CIWS (RAM, 32 cell model proposed for OHP refit), necessary EW gear, a couple Machine guns. Should be 30 knots+ so it could work with CVNs later on, 40+ is nice to have but damn expensive. Fit all versions for but not with 8 Harpoon, 16 Mark 41 VLS and an acceptable Radar for local air defense, in the 00's you don't need that and it drives up the cost, but may reasonably need it later. Modules don't need to be switched out fast, you aren't going to have spare crew for them, but modularity makes for easy upgrades. Modules should be as follows
  1. Mine Warfare. Fit with AN/SLQ-48 just with a longer cable, carry a AN/SQQ-32 towed by some sort of remote vessel connected by a cable, deguassing system, collapsible hangar for MH-53 with minesweeping sled. You can work on something better but the important thing is something that works now
  2. ASW. For now TACTAS and SQS-56 and 2 triple SVTT, plus the Helo's, with appropriate decoys. Again something better can be developed later, and it can be fitted with VLS for ASROC, but not neccesary and VL-ASROC did not have that many made
  3. Swarm Killer. Second 32 cell RAM Launcher, after HAS upgrade RAM can engage that, and several Mark 38's, possibly Hellfire too, and load down helos with Hellfire and 30mm Autocannon. Again something better can come later
Of courese this requires someone besides Rumsfeld as SecDef, but by focusing on existing tech you get something useful now that is unlikely to have problems. Since the thing is modular, you can upgrade it later easily towards more high intensity duty. Can probably fit all of this and a good growth margin on 4,000 tons or less, will need more crew than an LCS but will have less problems
 
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