Saturday, March 7, 2009

LCS vs. USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) on piracy matters

A few weeks back I was too busy to re-post the following, but was just re-reading it and thought I would follow-up on it now. From Galrahn of the Information Dissemination Navy blog about the LCS:

Friday, February 13, 2009
"A Question From the Department of Dissent"

I believe in the theories I opine through the blog. They do not focus on major power war and high intensity conflict in the maritime domain; rather they focus entirely on littoral warfare and low intensity challenges emerging in the maritime domain. I contend that the line between war and peace at sea is becoming blurred, and the approaches to dealing with both are evolving two very different directions, although with some convergence.

I believe it takes fewer people to kill more people in the 21st century due primarily to the advances in technology; we are simply more lethal than we have ever been in the past. I believe naval forces require more ships for peacemaking than they will for warfighting, and that the costs of warfighting with fewer ships will still be extraordinarily higher than the costs of fielding more ships for peacemaking. I believe that when the Navy takes risk in the development of fleet constitution, the Navy should take risks for peacemaking roles, not warfighting roles, but at no time can the Navy ignore the necessity to field low cost platforms for peacemaking.

I believe unmanned technology will continue to improve our lethality for warfighting, but peacemaking at sea begins with the fundamental requirement of manpower. I believe the platform that will make the largest difference in peacemaking in the 21st century is the mothership for both manned and unmanned systems, but while the mothership may be optimized for peacemaking the platform must be big enough to escalate violence as needed in its operational environment, which for me means the mothership will consist of both manned and unmanned systems.

As I observe the unfolding events off the coast of Somalia, I'm very pleased to find that virtually every one of the theories for peacemaking opined on the blog over the last 20 months are proving true. It is mothership operations with small boats and manned aircraft that is making the most significant impact in the fight against pirates, or said another way; the USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) is being used as a mothership.

I have been given a bit of smack from folks for calling the USS Freedom (LCS 1) a mothership. It is, it is a small mothership and designed specifically for operating unmanned platforms. With that specific design parameter, I believe the LCS is limited, because as a platform not really built for war but designed specifically for unmanned systems, it is intended for war. I have called out a number of folks for suggesting this is a peacemaker platform. It isn't, it can enable that environment with its unmanned systems and conflicting combination of speed and space, but I disagree with every single person who believes the LCS can do what the USS Vella Gulf (CG 73) is doing, and I can now prove it.

So as a vocal and visible member of the Department of Dissent, I'd like to ask a question to those advocating the 21st Century frigate can do everything, and this particularly applies double for the leftover Bush administration civilians who got their honorary PHDs on 'techno-centric naval requirements and solutions' from the University of Rumsfeld. Can you explain to me how the LCS can do what the USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) is doing, because I think based on just a few photographs it has become pretty obvious we see some fairly obvious flaws in the suggestion the LCS is the everything solution people have suggested.

Observe in photography. Keep in mind these photos appear to be taken from a helicopter, specifically from Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky who is on the USS Vella Gulf (CG 72). He would be the 5th person on any helicopter giving us all the photography, which I believe is an important part of this actually. In the top picture of the first incident I see 2 RHIBs with an 8 person team and 2 helicopters each with 4 person crews. In the bottom picture of the second incident I see 2 RHIBs with 12 person teams and 2 helicopters with 4 person crews. Add one more if you want photo drama. Click the images; use high resolution to count heads yourself if needed.

This means 25 naval personnel were involved in the first picture, and 29 naval personnel were involved in the second incident. The LCS has a maximum crew size of 75 by design, and there just isn't berthing space for more.

Will someone please explain how the LCS does this job?...>>>Rest of Post and Comments>>>

Galrahn continues on further with exact numbers and pictures.

Aloha, Brad

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