Say hello to the future of littoral combat: the USS 'Independence' LCS in perspective

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Rage, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    The following was sent to me as an email by a Claver Pereira, who in turn received it as a forward from an anonymous source. All text and images are the sole property of the author.

    Enjoy!


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    There have been rumors about the U.S. Navy's speedy new triple hulled ships, but now they're for real.

    The U.S.S Independence was built by General Dynamics. It's called a "littoral combat ship" (LCS), and the tri-maran can move its weapons around faster than any other ship in the Navy.

    Littoral implies close to the shore, and that's where these very ships will operate. They're tailor-made for launching helicopters and armored vehicles, sweeping mines and firing all manner of torpedoes, missiles and machine guns.

    These ships are also relatively inexpensive. This one's a bargain at $208 million, and the Navy plans to build 55 of them.

    The tri-maran is the first of a new fire breathing breed, ready to scoot out of dry dock at a rumored 60 knots... It's like a speedy and heavily armed aircraft carrier for helicopters.

    Pirates Beware!!!


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    WOW! A couple of these should be able to clean up the pirates off the coast of Africa....

    This is the U.S.S. Independence (LCS-2)
    It is a Triple Hulled, Weapon-Laden Monster.

    Here it is under construction...



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  3. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Here are some recent photos of the LCS 2 (to be USS) Independence. She's at 43 knots here running at half
    power. NOTE the absence of a bow wave.

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    Turns tightly, also; allegedly this also was done at 43 knots...and from the look of
    he small bow wave, she's still in the turn.

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    And then we have the massive helo deck big enough for a CH-53. Last time I talked with the SURFPAC
    guys years ago. THIS was the LCS they liked because of the huge storage capacity under that flight deck
    and the size of the flight deck.

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    Note that there is very little spreading wake. In fact, it does not look like a wake at all,
    just foamy water from the water jets. Somehow, at 40 knots, you'd think there'd be more wake

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    But she has one drawback, she's strange looking but aerodynamically designed.
    Is this beginning of a new design in ships?

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    The ship was commissioned on 16 January 2010, and is due to serve in the Gulf of Aden
    and the piracy-infested regions off the coast of Africa.

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    A brief history from Wikipedia:


    Description

    The design for Independence (LCS 2) is based on a proven high-speed trimaran (Benchijigua Express) hull built by Austal (Henderson, Australia). The 127-meter surface combatant design calls for a crew of 40 sailors, while the trimaran hull should enable the ship to reach sustainable speeds of nearly 50 knots (60 mph; 90 km/h) and range as far as 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km).

    With 11,000 cubic meters of payload volume the ship is designed with enough objective payload and volume to carry out one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve. The large flight deck, 1,030 m2 (11,100 sq ft), will support operation of two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, multiple UAVs, or one large CH-53 Sea Stallion class helicopter (which is larger than a V-22 transport). The stable trimaran hull will allow flight operations up to sea state 5.

    Fixed core capabilities will be carried for self-defense and command and control. However unlike traditional fighting ships with fixed armament such as guns and missiles, innovative and tailored mission modules will be configured for one mission package at a time. Modules may consist of manned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, off-board sensors, or mission-manning detachments - all in an expandable open systems architecture.

    The large interior volume and payload is greater than larger destroyers and is sufficient to serve as a high-speed transport and maneuver platform. The mission bay is 11,800 square feet (1,100 m2), and takes up most of the deck below the hangar and flight deck.

    In addition to cargo or container-sized mission modules, the bay can carry four lanes of multiple Strykers, armored Humvees, and their associated troops. An elevator allows air transport of packages the size of a twenty-foot long shipping container that can be moved into the mission bay while at sea. A side access ramp allows for vehicle roll-on/roll-off loading to a dock and allows the ship to even transport the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

    The habitability area is under the bridge with bunks for many personnel. The helm is controlled by joysticks instead of traditional steering wheels.

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    The Independence also has an integrated LOS Mast, Sea Giraffe 3D Radar and SeaStar Safire FLIR. Side and forward surfaces are angled for reduced radar profile. In addition, H-60 series helicopters provide airlift, rescue, anti-submarine, radar picket and anti-ship capabilities with torpedoes and missiles.

    The Raytheon Evolved SeaRAM missile defense system is installed on the hangar roof. The SeaRAM combines the sensors of the Phalanx 1B close-in weapon system with an 11-missile launcher for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), creating an autonomous system.

    To reduce the risk of fire on the all aluminum ship, many parts are protected from fire, and smoking is not permitted on board.

    Northrop Grumman has demonstrated sensor fusion of on and off-board systems in the Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) used on Independence.


    USS Independence (LCS-2) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  4. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    My take: It's kinda ironic that, despite all the technological advancements and achievements in naval ship-building and surface-warfare ships, the LCS is reminiscent of the Merrimac ironclad from old Civil War days.

    But, is this the start of a revolution in littoral combat ship building? I'm inclined to think so.

    The faceted nature of the ship also seems to make it clear that this is some kind of stealth design, intended to deflect radar for a smaller return on enemy radar. The ship seems to have limited surface-to-surface offensive and CISW capabilities, but that may be a function of the specific mission parameters littoral classes will be operating under.

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    On another note, I managed to get a hold of a few specs from the Militaryphotos.com:

    Propulsion system: 2 Gas Turbines, 2 Diesel Engines,
    4 Steerable Waterjets, 1 Steerable Thruster
    Length, overall: 127.1 meters
    Beam: 30.4 meters
    Draft: 4.5 meters
    Displacement: 2800 tons
    Speed: 51 knots
    Crew: 40 core crew members, 75 with detachments
    Aviation: two MH-60R/S or one MH-60R/S and VTUAV’s
    Armament:
    - 1 MK 31 Mod 0 RAM Launcher
    - 1 MK 110 Mod 0 57mm Gun system
    - 3 MK 26 Mod 17 .50 Cal Machine guns



    And the following is an interesting (although dated) article on the RIM-116 MK-31 RAM Rolling Airframe Guided Missile Weapon System from GlobalSecurity:

    RIM-116 RAM Rolling Airframe Missile
     

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