Seem to be, история, which began in 2008, begins to end. The so-called ships of the coastal zone of the US Navy go for conservation.
We wrote about the fact that there is a ship of LCS class, and now we begin, apparently, to observe the last act of the performance.
Coastal Warships: Modern Approach.
According to Defense News, 20.06.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX, at the U.S. Navy summit meeting, a landmark decision was made to place four LCS class ships for long-term conservation.
The release states that the USS Freedom, USS Independence, USS Fort Worth and USS Coronado ships should be put into reserve and mothballed by March 2021.
In general, the plans of the US Navy were to transfer these ships to the division for the development of tactics of surface combat weapons, the so-called First Squadron of surface developments.
In this squadron, in addition to four LCS, the plan was to have four destroyers of the Zamvolt class (one of which is still under construction) and the unmanned surface ship Sea Hunter.
In fact, this is simply an epoch-making recognition that the ships, on which more than one billion dollars were spent, were worthless for anything. Even the role of test and training ships.
Meanwhile, the ships cannot be called old. The first was ready in 2008, the last of the four in 2014. Fresh enough ships, right? However, for some reason they were used as experimental and experimental ships.
But here’s what the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Randy Kreits, deputy assistant naval secretary, told the press in an official statement. fleet on a budget. And he said just at the reporting press briefing, devoted precisely to the fleet’s expenses for 2021.
“These four experimental ships played an important role in squeezing everything out of them to study the capabilities of crew service, maintenance, and many other things that we needed to learn from their operation. But they (LCS ships. - Approx. Aut.) Are configured differently from other littoral ships in the fleet, and require significant modernization. Everything from military to structural systems, as you call them. These ships are too expensive to upgrade. ”
Overall unprecedented recognition. It turns out that the four ships of the first two series are no longer suitable even for the role of training.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has never made statements on how much the cost of upgrading LCS ships can be. Specifically, these four. It is clear that the subsequent ships in the series are significantly different from the first models. And the first ships were to catch up with the next generation, but the fleet command did not imagine that the volume of alterations would be so significant.
Meanwhile, the fleet continues to accept previously ordered LCS class ships. This year, the USS Oakland Independence class was delivered to the fleet. And it is not clear how the latest ship is suitable for use.
The navy is strikingly trying to solve the problem of the normal functioning of the modules. To date, there are three operational modules for LCS ships. The first is mine, when the ship can function as a mine-layer and minesweeper, the second is anti-submarine and the third is a patrol with anti-submarine options.
Initially, the LCS ship plan was just fine. Quickly installed modules made it possible to configure the ship for immediate tasks. Today you need to mine mines - not a question. Tomorrow, according to the plan, patrolling - removed some modules, put others - and at sea.
That was the essence of the whole LCS program.
But during the tests it suddenly became clear that it wasn’t such a simple matter to rearrange the modules back and forth. As a result, it was decided to return to the scheme of average configuration or installation on different ships of one group of modules for different tasks.
Alas, this deprived of flexibility the entire system of specialization of ships. Moreover, the presence on a permanent basis of ships of different configurations significantly weakened the capabilities of a group of ships.
The very idea of flexible management under the changing conditions of the day turned out to be unviable.
The capabilities of ships with modules installed for specific tasks turned out to be somewhat worse than everyone expected. Especially in terms of firepower. Therefore, work is currently underway to increase the combat capabilities of ships, for example, adding missile launchers for the RGM-148A (NSM). The US Navy command believes that by doing so it will at least slightly increase the combat power of the ships.
In general, having worked out all the possible applications at LCS, the US Navy came to the shocking conclusion: it’s easier and more profitable to build the same frigates to protect coastal marine areas. A frigate is a ship with a wider range of applications than LCS, its second advantage is the minute-by-minute readiness to fulfill the tasks within the capabilities of the ship.
And, back in 2017, when they had just begun to draw conclusions about the insolvency of LCS class ships, the U.S. Navy Command turned to the American company Marinette Marine, a subsidiary of the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, in order to develop and build a ship based on the French-Italian project Fregata Europea Multi-Missione (FREMM), or the so-called European multi-purpose frigate.
It is clear that after the extensive construction costs of 18 LCS class ships, Congress did not appreciate the budgetary costs of building 10 new FFG (X) S class ships.
Moreover, congressmen generally want to block the retirement of USS Fort Worth and USS Coronado. Until clarification of circumstances. The military budget, even in the United States, is not unlimited. Moreover, ten frigates are ten frigates.
As for the entire LCS project, certificates are required from the Navy leadership in Congress that all operational tests on all modules of the project have been successfully completed. In addition to the mine action, the tests of which are still underway and will end only in 2022.
But this slight delay does not add optimism to anyone.
But in general, everything in terms of the LCS program is very complicated. It’s not that “the dacha at the neighbor’s house was burnt, a trifle, but nice”, but the reality is this: even littoral ships cannot really retire.
First, the Navy will have to complete all the tests, then draw up all the necessary documents, the so-called NDA, to coordinate them before sending them to the Congress for voting. After that, documents can already get on the table to Trump, who will decide the fate of the ships. As the first four, and all the rest.
No matter how many of the first four LCS ships eventually retire, their future is still uncertain. The Navy assigned them the status “out of order, in reserve”. It is clear that the possibility of using LCS ships in the future remains, but it does not look very confident.
Already today it is clear that the US Navy with great pleasure would send these ships not only to the reserve, but to hell. On the needles.
There is only doubt that Congress and Trump will so easily satisfy the desire of American sailors.