LCS 5 To Get New Waterjets

The Office of Naval Research recently announced that USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) will be equipped with four Rolls-Royce Axial-Flow Waterjet Mk-1 engines, which they claim will both improve performance and reduce required maintenance over the life of the ship.

According to ONR the new Axial-Flow Waterjet Mk-1 can move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute and will propel the LCS to speeds greater than 40 knots. 

Researchers believe the smaller, more efficient waterjets will help the LCS avoid excessive maintenance costs associated with cavitation – a phenomenon that occurs when changes in pressure create air bubbles on rotating machinery, such as marine propellers. Repeated occurrences can cause whole chunks of metal to wear away, leading to frequent repairs and replacements.  The waterjets’ new design could increase their lifespan between repairs.

Full-scale trials for the waterjets are expected to occur on Milwaukee in the next 24 months.

In other LCS news, Chris Cavas of Navy Times reports that the Navy’s LCS requirement has dropped from 55 ships to 52 — a decrease, the Navy said, resulting from a lessening of the presence requirement to support U.S. Africa Command and not the ongoing budget crises related to the continuing resolution or sequestration.

  • blight_

    Hey, frees up more money to buy some Korean FFX.

  • Rob C

    So this is only for the Freedom Class units or is the Independence Class ships included as well?

    The ships are still barely useful as secondary combatants in my opinon. They might as well be coast guard cutters. I realize their suppose to be used for handing multitasks such as MCM/Surveryor/Patroling, but i still think their going get toasted by Fast Attack Craft that still majority use with most unfriendly countries. Big waste money if they want to use this as a replacement for the Frigate.

  • Lance

    Thats after this month the Navy has the money to make a LCS 5!

  • Big-Dean

    “will help the LCS avoid excessive maintenance costs” translated into English: this means that the LCS will now be able to go to sea for 2 whole days before the next maintenance cycle/drydock period

  • superraptor

    these jets are so loud that a Chinese sub can sink an LCS from 300 miles away. Brillant! Sequestration cometh!!!

  • Josephunh

    Great it can go 40+ knots. Still can’t defend itself or project any type of power so its still worthless.

    • Dfens

      Maybe instead of “a force for good” their motto could be, “run away, run away!”

    • Praetorian
  • TonyC

    40 knots will allow this ship to run from trouble until cavation torpedoes are widely used. The aluminum superstructure means antiship missiles will blow right through it without detonating. I wouldn’t feel safe on one of these ships.

    • Dfens

      I totally agree. Hell, why don’t these hyper-expensive ships use cavitating hydrofoils and aerodynamics to go 100+ mph using the same power plant? Can you imagine how much these defense contractors would bill us for one like that? If they want them to be light and fast, make them light and fast. If they’re supposed to be heavy and well armed, do that. The LCS as they are now are ducks on a pond.

      • d. kellogg

        For the foreseeable (technologically achievable within next couple decades) future,
        supercavitating torpedoes are little more than fire-and-forget weapons shot into a general direction nlike the first torpedoes: gyroscopically controlled or poerhaps even INS equipped (Inertial Navigation).
        But it will be a considerable amount of time (and expensive effort) before adequate noise-cancelling systems (hardware and software) that allow a supercav torpedo to be equipped with terminal homing sonar guidance that isn’t confused by the supercav’s own supercavitation-producing system.
        In effect, no different than expecting a 40+knot LCS on waterjets to listen for subs with sonar.
        Just too much noise.

        The real threat to LCS would be antiship missiles: at high speed, an LCS has an increased thermal signature (and its radar image isn’t stealthy at all), and RAMs and contermeasures aside, few antiship missiles moving at over 600mph are going to care if it’s a ship moving at 40knots or only 20.

    • Dave C.

      idiot… vessels have had aluminum superstructures since the cold war!!

  • tiger

    Ok, it’s a well armed waterski boat…

    • Big-Dean

      my jetski is more well armed than the LCS

  • Nicky

    I hear the Royal Thai navy is looking at the LCS to replace their Frigate. Let’s see how fast that goes

  • PolicyWonk

    While its nice these new water-jets will make the ship easier to maintain, I remain unclear on why the ship needs to go in excess of 40 knots (the navy is still trying to figure that out as well).

    However, the engines do nothing to inspire confidence for a sea frame that has a survivability rating at level 1 (less than that of a fleet tanker), the lack of any OTH attack capability (nary even a box o’ harpoons) that would give a real enemy any pause, or the real ability to fight in the littorals they were intended for. And none of the “mission packages” contain sufficient weapons/armaments to remedy that problem.

    The Brits have designed their new Type 28 Global Combat Ship that costs less, but gives you so much more in return. We also have the NSC’s that the USCG is building, and versions of those that are up-armored with heavier armaments have been offered to the navy as a considerable cost savings (with far longer legs).

    • Jacob

      The only thing I can think of regarding the ship’s speed is that a 40-knot ship would reduce the “zone of no escape” should a LCS be engaged by submarine launched torpedoes.

      • PolicyWonk

        Good point: “he who fights and runs away will live to run another day…”.


      • Big-Dean

        the only way the LCS knows a torpedo is bearing down on them at 50+ knots is when they get blown to the sky in a million pieces

    • Phono

      alltogether what the LCS seems to give in return is a more agile warfare. I don’t think that this has ever been a disadvantage.

      • Belesari

        No it has no warfare.

        The fact is we have no replacement for the Frigates we need. No minewarfare or sub hunting. Its hull is so thin it can never go into harms way, Its range at 55kts is around 300 or so mi and its cruising speed15Kts.

        What can it bring? A seahawk or two and weapons out ranged by 95% of those on the ocean in the air or on land.

        Oh and it can work by itself for a week at max then everyone is out of food.

      • blight_

        The agile LCS is like that guy who drives WOT and burns his brakes through and suffers terrible fuel economy.

        The next question is what are you running into battle with? Modules that do your work for you on a platform that by itself isn’t particularly great? Considering the promise of instant plug and play modules has been shown to a farce, we could have problems if you pull ships with the wrong modules and throw them into the fight because you need 57mm to swat Boghammars. Bye bye LCS…now we have extra modules dockside but we wasted our LCS on boghammar-swatting.

  • kiwiwni

    “a phenomenon that occurs when changes in pressure create steam bubbles on rotating machinery, such as marine propellers. The bubbles of steam collapse, creating shock waves that can erode nearby hard parts.”

    Fixed. :)

    Whoever inserted air instead of steam (water vapor) needs an intensive course in reality-checking…

  • Will Leach

    Im going to try and post here one last time.

    No one is suggesting that all of our hardware should come from over sees. If we cant compete for our own defense contracts, there is are bigger economic problems to worry about than buying foreign sometimes. We prospered free for a long time, I dont see how centrally planned protectionism will help.

    Buying a good foreign product now and again wouldnt gut our industrial base. If that was the case, it would be unconscienable and sgort sighted fo ever sell anything to our allies. Sometimes they will want what we have, and that boost to our industrial base will make buying foreign acceptable. Its called trade, smart countries do it.

    Of course, foreign products should only be purchased when said products possess one or more decisive advantage over domestic competitors. In the Navys case, if saving money on a European frigate gives us a better ship at a better price, we can use those savings to invest elsewhere domestically, maybe smaller shipbuilding or modular upgrade programs that could fill gaps in our shrinking fleet. Such small programs would allow us to pracfice getting the aquisition process right.

    We also need a more open minded approach for design. A Navy team, or teams, could submit proposals along with ours and other countries private companies designs when the Navy issues a requirement, or just when they have a really good idea.

    I really think we need to plan for gradual improvememts in design and production, rather than big leaps every few decades. In fact, I think this approach would allow big leaps to happen more often than when we try to force them.

    Look at the Su-10 series. It went from the Su-27 to the Su-37 to the Su-35, creating variants like the Su-34 along the way, and set the stage for the Pak-FA. Lets start learning lessons from abroad, look at European ship building right now, look at Saabs NG. Look at Korea. All lessons from countries with far less economic resources than us, yet they have made the most of it. We cant let our past success lead to more hubris now or in the future.

    Lets start small and set realistic short term goals. Lets use off the shelf parts, plan for less than the ideal, and lets plan on taking baby steps to get from good enough now to great tommorow.

    • john

      “Lets start learning lessons from abroad”

      Now that’s a very foreign concept to most Americans.

  • nh1

    yikes, rolls royce engines? what happened to the buy american act?

  • Jimmy

    There are two types of ships.Submarines and targets.The U.S, is broke.Stop spending money and resources abroad.We don’t need to be the policeman for the world and we can’t afford any money for foreign aid.We are in need of aid ourselves.
    Bring all our military home,use the army to close the border with Mexico and use the navy and marines to protect the east coast and west coast.Change the air force back to the army air corp and eliminate that as a separate branch of military.

    • Big Dean

      a lot of wisdom there Jimmy :-)

    • tiger

      Jimmy You sound like Charles Lindbergh , cicra 1939.

    • Belesari

      Except none of that works. There are two kinds of people who seem to learn nothing of history. Fools and idiots.

      The Idiot is to stupid to realize what he is being shown, And the Fool knows perfectly well what the past says just ignores it or believes its wrong. Neither care about the millions who die for that ignorance and arrogance.

      • blight_

        Isolationism will work the third time around, amirite? Hah.

  • Big-Dean

    Here’s the state of our Navy today:
    -maintenance has gone to hell
    -carriers are becoming dock queens
    -Political correctness above warfighting
    -The Chef’s mess has been castrated
    -All true warriors are being “fired, “relieved,” and or push aside
    -We have more admirals now than we have ships
    -crappy uniforms
    -and a fleet that is every shrinking every year

    and to add to all of this stink we have:
    -The LCS is “the future of the Navy”

  • dunsel

    ONR? Since when is ONR doing ship design? Since when has ONR been writing NAVSEA contracts? I guess Persons is letting ONR run the contracts shop and OPNAV is listening to the ONR ship designers.

  • SFP

    “will help the LCS avoid excessive maintenance costs” translated into English: this means that the LCS will now be able to go to sea for 2 whole days before the next maintenance cycle/drydock period