Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Building Blocks Arrive

The Littoral Combat Ship mission packages are finally getting close to reality. I want these and more both for the LCS and for option for a modularized auxiliary cruiser.


All three of the LCS mission packages are in some form of testing this fiscal year and will hit various initial operational capability milestones in Fiscal Years 2019, 2020 and 2022, Capt. Ted Zobel said at a briefing during the Surface Navy Association’s annual national symposium. However, the anti-submarine and mine countermeasures mission packages’ anticipated initial operational capability dates have slipped a bit again, despite the progress being made on testing the mission package equipment on two separate LCS hull variants.

The third and closest to deployment is the anti-ship package based on Hellfire missiles. But I remain concerned about this because it is intended for short-range work against small boats that would be found in littoral waters--where the LCS should never be placed given the threats and the poor survivability of the LCS.

And given that a Norwegian over-the-horizon missile is being added to the LCS basic equipment, I don't know why the LCS needs the Hellfire package. Good Lord, I hope this is from program inertia rather than a determination to put the LCS into coastal waters.

Still, these modules and more make building auxiliary cruisers as I explored in this Military Review article more possible with the research in the bank and mission packages ready to build and deploy.

And there are more building blocks--including the buzz-worthy drones--not part of the LCS program, and even this awesome one from the Army.