Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Blog Comparing JHSV and LCS

In reply to the blog New Wars: LCS Alternatives-High Speed Vessels

Mauibrad replied: January 21, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Leesea said:
“Two other thougths. The JHSV at $185 mil for first ship is very expensive when compared to other Austal cats of the same design. Is there sufficient value added to the Navy spec’d ship? Goes to your argument for more hulls of simpler type is bettter than gold plated NAVSEA ones.”

Exactly. In fact as you know, if the $185 mil price is kept, that would be TWICE the price of comparably designed ferry cats.

Mike said:
“Concerning price, the JHSV still comes in at less the original cost of the LCS. I am thinking this is due to mismanagement at the shipyards…”

The LCS designs are much larger ships with more engine power. LCS is also a combatant vessel which is the main reason that it had to be redesigned from civilian spec to mil spec. That redesign was what more than doubled the cost to close to $500 mil. The JHSV is a non-combatant vessel and therefore does not have to be redesigned to full mil spec. Which is why it’s cost of production should be less than $100 mil even though the first one has been budgeted for $185 mil.

One more point, JHSV-1’s original civilian design is an aluminium hull that at it’s thickest is 1/2 an inch thick of aluminium. At high speed it cannot take contact with barely anything other than water. Furthermore, JHSV-1’s original design with a high cross hull between the cat hulls, rather than a wave-piercing M underhull, is proving to have deck-slamming seakeeping problems with seastates that it is expected to be able to operate within.

Mike Burleson replied: January 22, 2009 at 8:13 am
“LCS is also a combatant vessel which is the main reason that it had to be redesigned from civilian spec to mil spec.”

This is a true statement and where the USN has a wrong and dated concept. Like many in the military, they are fixated on platforms which are ever more costly due to increased expense of defensive systems, stealth, increased engine power, ect. This is why I’ve have written on the need for more “dumb platforms” which can carry advanced weapons that are the real revolution.

For instance, in the mothership role the HSV would be like the carrier, its unmanned systems or attack craft should do the fighting while the parent ship acts as a base of operations, keeping out of danger as much as possible.

In wartime you may see the need to add more defensive systems on the HSV, the lessons of war. But I still think it would be a better launch platform for unmanned systems than the LCS, as it is already a support type vessel.

And a related item that came out a few days ago:
"McCullough: Fleet not able to go everywhere"
By Philip Ewing - Staff writer Jan 16, 2009

Today’s Navy is entering its most fiscally and operationally challenging era in decades, the service’s top requirements officer said Wednesday, as a consistently high demand from combatant commanders means the service doesn’t have enough ships to go all the places it wants.

There’s a “presence deficit” for U.S. naval forces across the globe, said Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources. What’s more, the worldwide economic crisis and concurrent uncertainty about funding from Congress means the Navy will have a tricky time estimating the money it needs and the money it will get to pay for what McCullough called “the triangle of death” — people, operations and procurement.

“I’ve got a lot of people sitting on the fourth deck and the fifth deck in my wedge of the Pentagon, and they’re spinning like tops” working to account for all the factors, he said.

Even more uncertainty comes from anticipating the priorities of the incoming Obama administration and fluctuating fuel costs, McCullough said.

“Last July, I crawled under my desk when I looked at the cost of a … barrel of oil,” he said. Yesterday the price was about $41 a barrel, “so now I’m dancing on my desk. But I have no idea what it’s going to be next week.”

McCullough made his remarks in a presentation before the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium outside Washington. He said that despite the Navy’s challenges and the coming fiscal uncertainty, the service should continue to maintain what he called its “high-end” ships and capabilities, even as a new generation of “low-end” ships, including the littoral combat ship and the Joint High Speed Vessel, are entering the portfolio.

The LCS and JHSV will be appealing for working with the navies of developing nations, but if the Navy loses its high-end capabilities, it’ll never get them back, McCullough said. The costs to build a new carrier or Aegis cruiser are prohibitively higher than maintaining existing ones.

“You’ve got to be able to maintain the high end capability because if you lose it, the cost to recoup it is incredible, not only in dollars, but in other things. So you have to be able to maintain the industrial base, and a capability at the high end, if you choose to be a high-end Navy.”

Aloha, Brad

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