LCS5 Gets New Waterjets

131216-N-ZZ999-101The Navy’s fifth Littoral Combat Ship is the first vessel to receive new waterjets engineered to improve propulsion and fuel efficiency, service officials said.

“The fuel efficiency that we derive is incredibly impressive. We’re not talking about one or two percentages – we’re talking about 10 percent improvement in efficiency from the waterjet,”  Rear Adm. Mathew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee May 14.

Now installed on the USS Milwaukee, or LCS 5, the new waterjets provide improved performance compared to previous waterjet models, said Ki-Han Kim, Office of Naval Research program officer, Sea Warfare and Weapons Division.

“Advancements in waterjet technology will reduce operational maintenance costs and improve availability for ships to deliver mission results,” Kim added in a written statement.  “The waterjets deliver the same top speed and efficiency as existing waterjets on LCS 1 and LCS 3, but with reduced noise and vibration, reduced life-cycle costs, improved maintainability, increased availability and potentially improved efficiency at lower speeds.”

The waterjets, developed from 2006 through 2011, improve what’s called cavitation performance, the process of creating partial vacuums in a liquid.

“The new waterjets benefit from an improved hydrodynamic design architecture that reduces the size of the waterjet and the damaging effects of cavitation through the use of improved impeller blade design techniques, while maintaining a high propulsive efficiency,” Kim said.

Development of the waterjets includes a partnership in funding between the Office of Naval Research, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, and Rolls-Royce Marine, North America.  The new waterjets have gone through extensive tests and validations at industry and government testing facilities and also been put through reduced scale at-sea demonstrations, Kim added.

Klunder praised the waterjet development as an example of effective industry-government partnerships.

The Navy plans to add the new waterjets to every Freedom variant of the LCS that is produced, Navy officials said. Each LCS requires four waterjets.

The first units were installed on LCS 5 in the summer of 2013 and full scale units have now been delivered for LCS 5, LCS 7 and LCS 9. Units for LCS 11 and LCS 13 are currently in production. Rolls-Royce won an initial competition to develop the waterjets in 2006 and has since gone on to be awarded a second phase to develop and deliver full-scale waterjets, Kim said.

“During the second phase, more improvements were made to the initial design and intermediate scale testing was performed on a Navy small boat,” he explained.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • d. kellogg

    I suppose it’s a mixed bag, but it IS good that they are seeing improvements into the vessels at this pace.
    Bad in that, if every few vessels sees a marked improvement over the previous, it may get individually expensive as each ship is needing unique upgrades thru its life, rather than across-the-fleet standard improvement packages, that the ships’ modularity suggested would keep costs low.

    • RWB123

      Yes and no as to this being bad.

      The costs of LCS 1 and 2 skyrocketed largely because the Navy kept changing the designs even as the ships were being built. Work that had been installed was constantly being torn out and replaced with whatever the flavor of the current week was. That’s not the way to run a railroad or a shipyard either.

      • blight_

        Which is why it makes sense to prototype before you commit to a serial production run.

        • Rob C.

          Too true, but look what happens with prototypes? RAH-66 Helicopter stayed a prototype for number years until it cancelled due to cost. Same would happened here. It expensive, but production work helps keep cost down too if you have people actually gave a damn doing so.

  • hibeam

    The Pentagon paid $150 per gallon for green jet fuel. How much did the fuel efficiency increase cost? When will the ships break even? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • JohnnyRanger

      Imagine how much experienced jet fuel would’ve cost! ;-)

    • Kurt Montandon

      The Pentagon paid $150/gal. for green jet fuel because it was a limited, 1500 gallon batch, where R&D costs wouldn’t be offset by mass production and sale.

      • blight_

        Think of how much money those silly government types wasted on horseless chariots for battlefield! Silliness, since we all know a horse and saber can send any rabble of infantry aflight!

    • tiger

      Shhush. You want the eco nuts to make us go back to sails? Now that would be Super green fuel. Wind power for all……

  • More Billion wsted on this piece of crap.

  • It does make me wonder if the originals were flawed.

  • flynavy

    we will never learn. we have other platforms that could be made highly effective incorparating this kind technolgy (CG ,DDG).Why do we have to start from scratch every time.

    • xXTomcatXx

      LCS is the only waterjet ship in the navy. So, no, they couldn’t.

    • jsand8494

      Fly navy divers need the work

  • flynavy

    LCS does nothing other then go really fast till it runs out of gas money. which don’t take long. No real armament offesive or defensive and I would hate to think about damage control on that hull if she did take a hit. You better have some good HT’s and DC men.

  • TonyC.

    LCS is a large patrol boat, they should put surface to surface missiles on it and a surface to air missile system. Then send it out in packs like the current PC craft are sent. Since the US navy doesn’t want any more frigates, then the LCS will have to fill that void.

  • Sunder

    one nice thing about these crafts are that they are test beds for future technology on our fleet. Can you imagine a carrier retrofit of waterjets? Not overly impossible.

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  • Isoroku Yamamoto

    Does anyone know if Ki-Han Kim, Office of Naval Research program officer, Sea Warfare and Weapons Division, is from South Korea or North Korea? With the current administration I wouldn’t want to guess.

  • Mitchell Fuller

    LCS building program = Concurrency…….. And we’ve seen how that worked with F-35…..

  • Guest

    Very exciting. We now have a far more fuel efficient warship that has no significant offensive capability, and can’t absorb damage. And just where are those anti-mine and anti-submarine modules? Coming Real Soon Now?

  • Big-Dean

    when are we going to learn that simply putting more and more lipstick on this pig will not change it- it’s still a pig and it needs to go to the slaughter house

  • Big-Dean

    Well, it’s a good thing they finally got that “RIMPAC show the flag” module” just in time for RIMPAC 2014!
    Lockhead Martin did a great job on that module, in came in at only $789 million which was just slightly over the original budge of $2.05 and they got it done in less than six years! BZ!!!!!

    The “RIMPAC show the flag module” is going to be a real hit and it going to impress all of the Navies of the world. In fact, I’ve heard that the Afganistan Navy is interested in buying it ;-P

  • Big-Dean

    It’s official folks, it is not politically incorrect to call the LCS the “little crappy” ship-that is demeaning, bullying, and racist

    From this day forward a more suitable name will be used that better reflects it’s deep heritage and culture, Introducing the new PB-1 class naval ship or better know as the Pig Boat ;-P “oink oink”

    • blight_

      Armed Transport.

  • Richard Bennison

    What really sucks is our illustrious government nitwits took the first five Ticonderoga class cruisers out of service at about 20 years young. To date, one may be saved as a museum,one was sunk, and it looks like the other three are, or will be scrapped. Those 5 ships, had they been saved, would have been a better investment to keep running than these worthless POS’s!!!!!!!!!!

  • Vpanoptes

    ” ‘Hmm, so we save on fuel but no increase in speed. Wouldn’t matter anyway, still can’t outrun or survive an ASM

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