A great fact-filled post on Strategy Page. Here are a couple of snippets:
The U.S. Navy is going to equip its new LCS (Littoral Combat Ships) with a U.S. Army artillery system to provide fire support to troops near the coast. The army system is NetFires (or NLOS-LS), which is still in development. This weapon is actually two different missiles, identical in weight and size, but different in how they operate. The main one is PAM (Precision Attack Missile).
Recognizing that there will be situations, like where there are a lot of woods or jungles, that will prevent sensors from spotting a lot of targets, there’s a second NetFires missile, the LAM (Loitering Attack Missile). Same weight and all of the PAM, except it is actually a mini-cruise missile and can fly around an assigned area for 45 minutes looking for a target.
The LCS features a number of major innovations. For one thing, it is highly automated, and has a crew of less than fifty. The LCS has a large cargo hold that can be quickly fitted with gear to turn it into a mine clearing ship, a fire support ship (with NetFires containers), a submarine hunter, or just about anything (anti-aircraft, commando support, or even command and control.) Each LCS also carries a Black Hawk size helicopter (MH-60), and has a hanger for it. There is also a water level dock for launching USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicles).
Much, much more at Strategy Page, so go read.
A prototype catamaran LCS, the Sea Fighter, has joined the Navy already. MO has covered it previously:
- The Littoral Combat Ship Prototype
- First new ship of the “brown water Navy”
- SEA FIGHTER ‘oinks’ its way into San Diego
Murdoc is an unabashed fan of the Sea Fighter, and thinks that there’s a place for more of the class in the Navy (and Coast Guard).
Here’s a pic of the FSF-1 Sea Fighter that I meant to post once upon a time but apparently never got to:
For what it’s worth, Murdoc thinks that nearly all of the arguments that DD(X) proponents make for the multi-billion dollar class of new stealth destroyers can be covered using Littoral Combat Ships.