Wednesday, April 11, 2012

CDR Salamander. They were listening!

Littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) steams through the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Sailors from Independence's Gold Crew and embarked Mine Countermeasures, Detachment 1 are underway for the ship's maiden voyage to San Diego after successfully completing testing on the MCM mission package.
CDR Salamander just wrote a blogpost this morning covering the LCS woes much better than I ever could.

Then this afternoon we get this from the LCS geeks.


Question:  Are those missile covers just behind the gun?  I wonder what missile they're for?


  1. I believe that is where the now-defunct NETFIRES was supposed to be located.

  2. Is that where they plan on putting the Griffin?

    They should replace that with a DAGR/LOGIR/Hellfire/Brimstone/JAGM turret. At least you would get some descent range out of it.

  3. Spudman is correct: it's the NLOS enclosure. See close up pic with caption here:

    I'm not sure if they are putting the Griffin there or not. I can't find any reference to a vertical launch Griffin so I'm thinking maybe not. That may explain why the Navy went with such a small missile as the Griffin: so they could fit the launchers or launch tubes without any fuss or significant modifications to the boat.

    There aren't a lot of good vertical launch options that fit in the very shallow envelope that NLOS did.

    If you could get a vertical launch option I think the Spike ER or especially the Spike NLOS missiles would be a good choice, not least since they are designed to enable lock on or abort after launch for environments where you may need to go after one target moving among civilians or high collateral damage areas.

  4. When I was on LCS-2 they were an empty hold with a soft patch cover i.e bolted down. Not a big space as for Navy standard VLS, but possibly. Where would they store spare missiles and how to reload any weapon on the bow?

    Agree Spike ER especially if they were mounted on a Mk 40 mount along with .40s. Unfortunately one can't do that with the Mk 46 30 mm mounts on the LCS~~

  5. I like that Spike NLOS (nice vid at the link). Having a 25km range with target updates and the ability to aim for a specific spot on the target is a nice plus. The Turret shown (4 shot) would fit nicely in a Mission Module slot.

    My thoughts on the LCS weapons:
    1. Raise the SeaRAM 1 meter to allow LOS over #2.
    2. Mount Millennium guns on either side of the SeaRAM as they have no through-deck penetration, have a bigger round than the 30mm, have a secondary CIWS role, and would provide better aft coverage than the current 30mm gun locations.
    3. Put Spike NLOS turrets in the 30mm MM slots (aft of the command deck)
    4. Put a popup NSM launcher in the forward MM bay for long-range punch.

  6. Video on the Millennium Gun

    1. That looks like a badass gun. Since I have no military experience I'll ask you; why wouldn't we have that gun on LCS or any other ship? Is it too expensive? Unproven perhaps?

      I keep thinking (or hoping) that I'm missing something on the LCS. I don't think I would want to have my ass on the line with only a small cannon for defense and beer can armor. I bet if the planners were the ones manning the ship they would have found more offensive and defensive capabilities.

    2. The reason that the current Bushmaster 30mm gun was chosen was that it was to also be used on the EFV and economy of scale would have made it relatively cheap. That ship has sailed.

      The Millennium gun is a proven system that is in operational use both on land and sea.

  7. NLOS was 1.8m in a 2.0m VLS pack. NSM is 4.0m and requires a booster for ship launch so at least 5.0m for a VLS. Sadly they seemed to left little if any space margin where the planned anti boat missiles go.

    Frankly someone should ask the USN if Spike NLOS would fit and if it was considered? The Spike family of missiles is in service with at least 22 nations. It's made in Germany under a joint venture- Euro Spike. Not sure if only Rafael is producing Spike NLOS but it's reported in service with at least one country and there are rumors the Brits are using it in Afghanistan.

    This aside should the primary anti surface mission of a 3,000 ton frigate really be dealing small boats? Isn't the premise absurd? Doesn't every missile boat in the world have a significant range advantage over LCS? Shouldn't a small missile system for small boats be a secondary system backing up a primary system to deal with actual naval vessels?

    Whether they get the proposed 3.5 mile range system to work or not is almost besides the point. The 57mm gun has a longer range. The irony of course is that Rafael is currently marketing Spike NLOS as a small boat weapon system. Even small boats with an ATGW out range LCS.

  8. I think Spike NLOS is only in limited service with the Israeli military. It isn't in use anywhere else yet. I believe there was another customer (South Korea)? Not sure what the status is with that purchase.

    Another option would be to buy a medium weight AShM like Sea Skua. However it may still be too long for the NLOS-LS location on LCS-2.

    IAI is also pushing the NLOS-LS-like Jumper VLS system for naval use. Currently it only has an INS/GPS guidance with optional SAL. Not sure if any other guidance options are in the works. Also, I'm not sure if it's even in service anywhere, or still vaporware.

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  10. Does anyone know the dimensions of the forward MM bay? My idea for NSW as the standard quad-box launcher that could elevate into a launching position.

  11. I think Lane had it right. IIRC there are two bays behind the 57mm. Each are roughly 1.1x2.2m and 1.8m deep, and each was meant to hold 2x15 cell NLOS-LS packs.

  12. Doing a quick pixel comparison, that whole square behind the 57mm looks to be 16ft (4.8m) square. This looks to be large enough to fit the NSM launch modules (at a slight angle if needed).

    They might have to mod the bay to make it deeper in order to fit the NSM pods (in any serious numbers).

  13. Yes. I should've said they are at minimum 1.1x2.2m.

  14. Well if you can ship a standard container and get it somewhere it where you can launch from it, you can get all the way up to Club-K ( )

    I can't help thinking that this whole mess could have been avoided if we'd stuck with FOG-M or Polyphem through another generation of technology . . .

  15. where you going to "park" that container on an LCS, and what are you going to connect it to for sensors? There are NO ISO containers spots topside on either LCS.

  16. There are tiedown spots all over the flight deck (on the LCS-2 at least). It's just a matter of running power and comms to the container at that point.


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