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.

    • Prodozul
      • Prodozul
        • blight_

          Or oranges and clementines?

          Fair enough.

          To appeal to the big gun set, it has a 127mm gun on a 2.3 kton hull (empty weight). One CIWS, one RAM, torps, Harpoon analogue, and some kind of subsonic CM (TLAM analogue?)

          It obviously lacks the speed of an LCS, definitely lighter than a Perry, presumably lacks the sea legs as well. FFX may not fare well in choppy waters, but for the local environment…

    • tiger

      More like money to replace our wrecked minesweeper.

    • Nicky

      As soon as we can cancel the LCS crap the better the US Navy is in getting some Euro Frigate or the Korean FFX frigate

      • Brad

        The Navy will not buy rice burners.

        • blight_

          It doesn’t burn Rice, it’s got the same turbine setup (Rolls Royce MT-30) as the DDG-1000 will, along with one of the LCS types.

          Just because it isn’t a LM-2500…

          • David

            What Korean frigate are you talking about?

          • john

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incheon_class_frigat

            Batch I – 2,300 tons (empty)
            Length: 114 m (374 ft)
            Propulsion: 1 x Rolls-Royce MT30[1] CODOG
            Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) (max)
            18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (cruising)
            Range: 8,000 km (5,000 mi)
            Complement: 140
            Armament: 1 x 5 inch (127mm/L62) Mk-45 Mod 4 naval gun

            There are different variants and 1st variant cost US $232 million. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/ffx-koreas-ne

    • David

      Too bad those Korean ships are 200 million more than the LCS. And the USN would never buy a foreign ship.

      • blight_

        And yes, the USN will never buy it. The American military thinks that a foreign design is built in America, it is somehow sheep-dipped American and adequate for our defense needs.

      • john

        The Korean FFX cost US $232 million.

        US Freedom class Cost: $670.4 million

  • 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.

    • blight_

      They’re great for anything that doesn’t involve surface warfare. Granted, the Navy has a ton of that stuff that needs to be done…

      Gonna have to rename it to Common Support Platform…

      • Belesari

        Lets look at everything they can do.

        Ok we are done.

        Seriously they can hunt subs or mines because none of it will work or even exist yet.

        Oh and yet this (though everyone says it wont engage in surface combat was supposed to be our answer to small boats even though they all out range it weapons wise) is our everything ship.

        YEA! 40 knots! To where no one is quite sure but considering it was supposed to go 55 knots which neither ship can make and it can only do that for a few hundred miles then its out of fuel……Oh and it cant fire its gun on the move accuractly.

        But hey other than that im sure its worth it.

        • blight_

          Thats why I’m putting my money on foreign products for Littoral Combat.

          • d. kellogg

            Months ago myself and my brother were debating with a few folks here or over at DoDBuzz about the inabilities of the LCS 57mm gun.

            The Swedish (Bofors/SAAB) created a very capable design in the 57mm,
            but 98% of its capabilities (accuracy in anti-surface, anti-air, and anti-missile) have only been achieved when tested under ideal conditions from fixed/stationary mountings.
            To date, no one yet has shown reports or videos showing the guns on naval vessels at any worthwhile speed actually ACCURATELY engaging and hitting anything smaller than a derelict traget ship at close ranges.

            Shooting static, not-moving targets from a stationary ship is no measure of a weapon’s abilities.
            Show me the footage of an LCS (or ANY vessel) moving over 20knots and actually hitting something (aircraft-sized) at a useful distance that could represent a potential threat scenario (ignoring USN ideals of an LCS chasing pirates at 40knots,..what exactly can it engage them with if they don’t stop?).
            If the ship has to sit nearly motionless to even chance hitting something a few km away, then why even have the expense of the gun system in the first place?

          • d. kellogg

            Multiple points around the ship with CROWS-type remotre weapons stations armed with machine guns or chain guns for close-in work and ATGMs or MANPADS, would be more effective, as fire-and-forget missiles aren’t reliant on a ship’s stability.

            A main battle with its stabilization can effective engage and hit targets on the move across rough terrain, but will the LCS ever train its gunnery crews to such levels of on-the-move accuracy and proficiency?

          • blight_

            Not sure what the 57mm is intended to do, asides from swat Boghammars.

            The Navy is thriving on the ambiguity of the word “littoral”. If we’re swatting Boghammars it can be done with far smaller boats and far more effective ones. If we intend to fight we can do it with the non-modular export variants proposed, and cheaper too.

            The Navy needs to pick a modular+export version and run with it. One will be a surface warfare combatant without modular capability, the other will be modular.

          • Rob

            I suspect they picked the gun since its mass produced. Frankly i hadn’t thought of the problem 57mm would have firing at units while its full bore running. Old 76mm SuperMelo may have same problems, but i don’t know.

            I think they went with the gun because it won’t out right destroy the small craft it was intended to bag in first place. Their still trying make this more useful Cyclone Class Ship but bigger.

            Unfortunately, i don’t think these module that USN is using is adaptable to the Danish’s StanFlex system. They’ve been using those things for while now. They’ve retired the original class that was using them. So i wonder how usable they really are, aside their using these modules with their newer bigger ship.

          • blight_

            Indeed. A “better Cyclone” would be a fairly decent short-range Littoral Combatant. But the present LCS..hmm.

          • d. kellogg

            As to choosing between the tried-and-trusted Italian 76mm that adorned both the Perry class frigates and Pegasus class hydrofoils, and the newer 57mm design,
            it was stated that the rate of fire of the 57 (up to 220rpm) created greater “throw weight” of shells downrange (to 17km with HCER) than the 76mm (to 90rpm in US versions, and to 16km, although the SuperRapid does 120rpm and 20km with ER ammo).

            Years ago United Defense (prior to BAE acquisition merger) was developing a 60mm ETC gun as a future CIWS that still sat in the Phalanx footprint. They were developing guided shells, and the project went by the wayside eventually.
            Now, ATK has been developing the Bushmaster 50mm C-RAM gun for EAPS (Extended Area Protection System), utilizing steerable ammo, which in theory should be adaptable to the 57mm caliber.
            However, the Italians’ developments with the Davide system and Vulcano & Strales/DART ammo for the 76mm suggest the 76 would’ve been a better option, as the precision guidance and extended ranges far surpass anything any 57 will ever muster.

            EAPS, http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2012armaments/Wednesday1

          • d. kellogg

            http://www.
            dtic.mil/ndia/2012armaments/Wednesday14018luciano.
            pdf

        • Will Leach
    • Geo/USN/Ret

      Rob, I believe you got that right, This class is a little more useless than an FFG without a missle on it.

  • 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.

        • Dfens

          Cavitating hydrofoils share some features with cavitating torpedoes but are considerably different in function. They, like conventional hydrofoils, lift the hull of the ship out of the water, but they develop much more lift for their area than a conventional hydrofoil does, thus they can be smaller and produce less drag. Plus the top side cavitating surface produces almost no drag, which is a key benefit of cavitation wherever it is used. Also, what you consider to be the downside of cavitating torpedoes is more propaganda than fact.

    • Dave C.

      idiot…..navy 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

      • blight_

        Yours has a 57mm? Badass.

  • 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…”.

        Cheers.

        • Belesari

          Except…..torpedo’s are faster and ASM are far far faster.

      • 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…

    • Dfens

      Even better would be if the Navy would figure out how to use stable propeller cavitation bubbles to make them that much more efficient. Instead they are still fighting against cavitation long after they should have been taking advantage of it.

    • DocScience

      It’s VERY wrong, but not entirely wrong, in highly aerated water, like that found at the sea surface, dissolved air in the water bubbles out BEFORE the water itself vaporizes.

      But the energy in the air bubbles is TINY in comparison to the enormous power locked in the water vapor explosion/implosions. It’s the water that does the damage.

  • 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?

    • blight_

      We’re using Rolls Royce MT30’s for the Zumwalt and the LCS, and the Rolls Royce Pegasus powers our British Harriers, and the Rolls Royce LiftSystem powers the JSF-B.

      The M-249 SAW is an FN Minimi, the M-240 is the FN-MAG, the HK 416 is obviously German; in handgunland the SOCOM is based off an HK pistol; the M9 is Italian and the Sig Sauer is Swiss. For naval weapons, the 57mm gun is Bofors (Swede?), the 76mm from Oto-Melara(Italian). Back when we used to use them, Durandals were French runway cratering weapons. The Abrams uses a Rheinmetall design for its 120mm, and the 105mm that preceded it was based on the British L7.

      What’s really important is that as NATO countries every country standardises on ammunition (5.56, 7.62, .338, 0.50, 60mm, 81mm, 105mm, 120mm, 155mm et al) and magazines, and retains independent supplies and/or manufacturing capability; because you never know when everyone will be operating in the same AO and needs common resupply.

      Coalition ops in Afghanistan would be a worse if coalition members from different countries couldn’t even share ammunition. Guns are different, sure…

    • Dfens

      Buy American? You must be joking. We spend more on defense now than we did at the height of the Cold War, and yet defense sector employment is as low as it has been since WW2 started. Where do you think all that money is going? I can assure you, it’s not all going into my bank account.

  • 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