Frickin' POGO is the reason.I had to do a double-take of the top banner on the page to confirm I really was still at the National Defense Industry Association's website "National Defense" on one of their 'blogs', when I read a piece titled "Navy to Consider Buying Only One Littoral Combat Ship Design".
I felt compelled to comment:
1. The title either is missing a question mark or is misleading. Nowhere in the body of the post does anyone in the Navy indicate that they are considering a single type buy. Only, when asked, under what conditions they might consider doing so. BIG difference.
2. RE: Critics. Rule 1, There are always critics, and Rule 2, POGO is always a critic. And on this particular topic not a particularly effective one: http://www.elementsofpower.blogspot.com/2012/05/project-on-government-oversight-still.html
Eh. We'll see if the comment gets posted.
While the Littoral Combat Ship is not suited for the front lines of a war with China, it would provide vital protection to US supply lines in such conflict, said Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, and against Iran, LCS would be in the battle from "day one," with eight LCSs ultimately operating out of Bahrain. Indeed, the two potential theaters of war are so different that the Navy may consider focusing the "much more maneuverable" Lockheed Martin version of the LCS on fighting fast attack boats in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf, while the very different General Dynamics design, with its larger flight deck and fuel tanks, operates primarily in the vast reaches of the Pacific.
And from another article covering what Under Secretary Work was saying either at that time or proximate to same titled LCSs Could Be Based in Gulf, Says U.S. Navy Undersecretary:
Freedom (LCS 1) is to make a demonstration deployment in 2013 to Singapore, which has offered to host four of the ships. The Freedom will return to the U.S. in late 2013 or early 2014 after a 10-month cruise, and the first ship to be regularly operating from the island state is likely to be the Fort Worth (LCS 3), second of the Freedom-class.
The Navy has said it does not wish to mix both classes of LCSs in Singapore for this early effort, and aside from the Freedom, it will be 2016 at the earliest before enough LCS 1-class ships will be available to be based in Singapore.
But LCS 1-class ships are better suited to operations in the Arabian Gulf, Work said.
Bonus Question:In the "Navy to Consider Buying Only One Littoral Combat Ship Design", what in your opinion is the most telling thing that Freeman is quoted as saying (if accurately quoted) that identifies him as thoroughly unqualified (no more or less than anyone else at POGO) to comment on the LCS program?
That quote, the one most telling thing that Freeman (if accurately quoted) say that identifies him as thoroughly unqualified (no more or less than anyone else at POGO) to comment on the LCS program is:
“It is hard to imagine two ships that do the exact same mission looking more different,” Freeman said. “Those differences go well beyond appearance and will be costly.”
If these were single-mission ships, they might possibly look more alike, but the diversity of missions and associated requirements without prioritizing one well above the others logically creates a broader design trade-space to meet those diverse requirements.
|Three Missions, Three Sets of Requirements to Satisfy in a Design|
More than just having planform/shape divergence, the designs clearly differ in approaches to accomplish the same objectives functionally.
From the KPPs, we can tell an awful lot about the breadth of the design trade-space and use it to perhaps interpret why the competitors chose different paths. High speed/Long Range seems the 'tough' requirement, and Austal has a long history of high-speed multi-hull designs, so their attraction to this contract was obvious. There are very few ways you can go 40+ knots fast for any distance with a shallow draft vessel, and I think all of them may have showed up in competitor's designs, so what we see in the remaining two are just the survivors. There is really no surprise there. The rest of the KPPs, the competitors could decide upon freely.
If you are mathematically inclined, designing against requirements is akin to simultaneously solving multi-variable equations via matrices manipulation, only you get to pick your x,y,z-etc values within a range for each and your professor doesn't know what answer is 'right' until he sees it. The more diverse the requirements, the more variables you have to deal with.
If you are not mathematically inclined, it's like catering a family reunion such that everyone is willing to eat dinner.The more relatives, the more variables you have to deal with.
Sorry about the long update: I may break this out tomorrow as a separate post