If we can offload the LCS program's anti-small boat role to helicopters and we don't actually need to worry about ASW because the Burkes and remaining OHPs can do that, then what does an armed MCM look like? Something like an Absalon would have plenty of space for the minehunting gear and can operate a minesweeping helicopter, and if you have noise-isolated diesels on a displacement monohull then you can put on a few sonars and use it for shallow-water ASW. The speed requirement on the LCS seems to have primarily been for intra-theater maneuver rather than tactical speed in a gunfight, but transit times between an LCS at 40 knots and a normal frigate/corvette at 20 knots will be about a day at normal ranges because otherwise the LCS would show up to the fight without any gas.The first is that the existing MCM craft cannot self deploy in a timely manner. Ergo if you need mine sweeping at an unexpected place it takes forever for them to show up and requires an ocean going tug or lift ship. And WWII demonstrated that a merchant raider can plant minefields on the other side of the planet from its homeport, so nothing is stopping say Iran from loading up tramp with mines, having it play Lloyd's looper under false papers and then deploy a minefield somewhere nasty in the event of war
The second is that current MCM craft are vulnerable enough that they need a CG/DDG right next to them to provide terminal defense and chase off small boats, which leaves them at the edges of the minefield and very vulnerable to an oops like with Princeton
The LCS was intended to solve these, by being able to self deploy, and have a CIWS and autocannon to fend off small targets so that the DDG/CG on overwatch can be 5km+ away and not right at the edge of the minefield
If you are having two or three classes on the same hull, that sounds like it's just the LCS as we know it with permanently installed mission modules. What kind of hull form would you propose, and would you keep the speed requirement? My proposal is to look at missions other than what the LCS was designed to do, because I don't think the LCS is the best platform for those missions.Accept that the LCS program is a bad idea and take it out back and shoot it. Take the “bright“ spark that suggested the outback and shoot them too.
I joke it really is a terrible idea. The program has gotten capability creep in a bad way. Instead, design two or three classes to fill the purpose of the program. Have them share the same hull form.
Where are you going to find the 8,000 sailors you would need for crews, how much is it going to cost to keep those steam plants going for another four decades, and where on the ships would the VLS go? The DD-21 program was supposed to put the equivalent of 50 artillery battalions (probably 25,000 soldiers) to sea with fewer than 6,000 sailors.If you need a damn artillery gunboat, leave the Battleship Iowa in service. Throw 80 VLS Mk41s in there.