Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Thing's More Realistic for the Littorals than either LCS-1 or LCS-2

In the comments over at Information Dissemination "The LCS is still a Mess" there's lots of good analysis of just what the last press release on LCS may mean. In particular, given the nature of the new acquisition contract competition, the commentators there are evaluating other existing ship designs and shipyards that might satisfy the new LCS requirements. The most interesting one mentioned is USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750). WMSL 750, 751, and the rest of that class look to be more realistic for the global littorals than LCS. It's cheaper (half the price), fast enough, more fuel efficient, more versatile, carries a larger payload, has much longer range, better armed and defended, and better able to sustain damage and keep on going compared to LCS. Austal is toast. Here's some info and links on WMSL:

More pictures of the USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750)

From Wikipedia:

USCGC Bertholf WMSL-750.jpg
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
Career (USCG) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Ordered: January 2001
Builder: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Cost: $285 million
Laid down: March 29, 2005
Launched: September 29, 2006
Christened: November 11, 2006
Commissioned: August 4, 2008
Homeport: Alameda, California
Motto: "Legends Begin Here"
Status: Commissioned
General characteristics
Type: National Security Cutter
Displacement: 4500 LT
Length: 418 feet
Beam: 54 feet
Draught: 30 feet
Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas
Speed: 28+ knots
Range: 12,000 nm
Complement: 113 (14 Officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
EADS 3D TRS-16 Air Search Radar
SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
Armament: 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
Close-In Weapons System
2 SRBOC/ 2 NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher
4 50 Caliber Machine Guns
2 M240B 7.62mm Light Machine Guns
Aircraft carried: (2) MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or (4) VUAV or (1) MH-65C Dolphin MCH and (2) VUAV
Aviation facilities: 50x80 foot flight deck, hangar for all aircraft


Description: The Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL), formerly known as the National Security Cutter (NSC) , is a highly capable, cutting-edge, world-class, long endurance cutter designed to replace aging cutters owned by the US Coast Guard. The Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin joint venture, is responsible for the execution of the program. The US Coast Guard Integrated Deepwater Systems program is the parent program for the WMSL cutter. The parent program envisages three classes of cutters to meet the US Coast Guard present and future requirements. Moreover, a new manned fixed-wing aircraft fleet, new and upgraded helicopters, and cutter- and land-based unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are needed.

The Maritime Security Cutter shares design team, common systems, logistics and training with the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and the Fast Response Cutter (FRC). The WMSL will have an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats, a flight deck for manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft and advanced command and control electronics. The 418-ft (128.3 meters) long and 4,000-t class ship will feature a CODAG (Combined Diesel and Gas) propulsion system. Besides, these ships will be provided with NBC detection and defense equipment as well as more powerful weapons, air and surface search radars and improved Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities.

General Electric Transportation's LM2500 gas turbine was chosen to drive the new US Coast Guard's Maritime Security Cutter Large (WMSL) on November 29, 2004 under Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) program. The contract was awarded by Detroit Diesel Corporation which is the prime contractor for the WMSL integrated propulsion system. The integrated propulsion system selected for the WMSL relies on a CODAG arrangement with a single GE LM2500 gas turbine and two MTU 20V1163 diesel engines. The power output is estimated at 48,960 shaft horsepower.

The US Coast Guard awarded a $11 billion, 20-year contract to Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman in June 2002 for Deepwater program. Despite the $11 billion contract, the total cost of this program could exceed $17 billion. Deepwater includes 91 (8 NSC, 25 OPC and 58 FRC) new-built cutters, 35 fixed-wing aircraft, 34 helicopters, 76 UAVs, 93 upgraded helicopters and 49 upgraded cutters. Up to eight National Security Cutters are expected to be delivered to the Coast Guard from 2008 through 2017.

In June 2004, the ICGS team received the contract for the first WMSL to be manufactured at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, Mississippi. Construction on the first ship, named NSC 1, began in September 2004. On 18 January 2005, the US Coast Guard awarded ICGS a further contract to begin construction and delivery of the second WMSL. The WMSL 750, formerly NSC 1, had its keel laid on March 29, 2005. The keel laying ceremony of the second National Security Cutter (WMSL 751) was held at Northrop-Grumman Pascagoula facilities on September 11, 2006. The first high endurance cutter (WMSL 750) was christened Bertholf at Northrop Grumman's shipyard on November 11, 2006. It was delivered to the US Coast Guard in 2007 and is due for commissioning during 2008.

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