Monday, September 27, 2010

A Real Littoral Ship

We have found our small number of Cyclone class patrol vessels very useful for littoral patrols. But they are wearing out:

Only a few years after finding a real job in the fleet, the U.S. Navy's Cyclone class patrol boats are facing the scrap yard because these ships are, will, worn out and falling apart. It was five years ago that the navy scrambled to get its Cyclones into its new brown water (along coasts and up rivers) operation.

The thirteen 170 foot long Cyclone class PC (Coastal Patrol) boats were built in the 1990s. But after operating them for six years, the navy decided they had made a mistake, and loaned some of the Cyclone class ships to the Coast Guard and SOCOM (Special Operations Command), while seeking foreign buyers for the rest. But now the navy is establishing a coastal force, complete with naval infantry. For this brown water navy, the Cyclones are perfect, and the navy got them back to work.

We could use replacements for the Cyclones, because the poorly named Littoral Combat Ships have no business fighting in the littorals. They are way too expensive for that role.

Heck, if the Cyclones are so good, just build more of the same design rather than turn the job of building a new one into another episode of unexpected cost overruns.

UPDATE: More information than you'll ever need on the LCS.