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Littoral combat ships will help U.S. forces gain access. (Commentary).

The U.S. Navy is seeking to develop a new surface combatant A ship constructed and armed for combat use with the capability to conduct operations in multiple maritime roles against air, surface and subsurface threats, and land targets.  family of ships, designed to expand the nation's warfighting capabilities. Among the concepts being considered for the future force is a mission-focused vessel called the Littoral Combat Ship The Littoral Combat Ship is the first of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended as a relatively small surface vessel for operations in the littoral region (close to shore), the LCS is smaller than the Navy's guided missile frigates, and have been compared to .

The LCS LCS - Language for Communicating Systems  concept focuses on operations in the littoral littoral /lit·to·ral/ (lit´ah-r'l) pertaining to the shore of a large body of water.


pertaining to the shore.
 or coastal regions of the world. The ship will be small, fast and highly maneuverable. Operating within the larger construct of a naval network of distributed ships, the LCS will provide naval and Joint Force Commanders capabilities that will both complement and increase the combat effectiveness of the Navy's larger, multi-mission ships.

The U.S. national strategy will require the Navy to project dominant and decisive offensive power ashore and support List-moving ground forces. To do this, the Navy must assure access to all maritime regions and establish a presence in littoral environments characterized by a multitude of rapidly evolving and increasingly asymmetric threats.

The need for assured access for the U.S. armed forces in certain regions of the world has been long recognized. However, events of the last two years, including the ongoing war against terrorism, have brought a new sense of focus and energy.

The LCS, with its unique combat capabilities, is ideally suited to meet this need.

The Navy's fleet of the future will see a surface combatant family of ships. Today's in-service Aegis fleet of cruisers and destroyers will be joined by revolutionary new ships: DD(X), an advanced multimission destroyer destroyer, class of warship very fast relative to its length, generally equipped with torpedos, antisubmarine equipment, and medium-caliber and antiaircraft guns. The newest destroyers are equipped with guided missiles as their chief offensive weapon.  with significant precision strike and volume fires capabilities, CG(X), an advanced multi-mission cruiser with sea-based theater air and ballistic missile defense Missile defence is an air defence system, weapon program, or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception and destruction of attacking missiles. Originally conceived as a defence against nuclear-armed ICBMs, its application has broadened to include shorter-ranged  suites, and the stealthy stealth·y  
adj. stealth·i·er, stealth·i·est
Marked by or acting with quiet, caution, and secrecy intended to avoid notice. See Synonyms at secret.
, small, highly maneuverable, focused-mission Littoral Combat Ship.

Without abandoning traditional core competencies, the family of surface combatants will distribute offensive firepower among a number of both large and small, multi-mission and focusedmission platforms operating in both deep-ocean and shallower, coastal waters.

This concept of a multi-mission family of ships acknowledges the continuing rapid maturation of technology. Traditional ship designs became outdated in the period between the initial requirements development phase and the time the class become operational in significant numbers.

The process for modernizing ship systems usually involved field changes to machinery and weapons systems. Although efffective in keeping installed systems updated, this approach was not intended to replace an aging fleet with modem vessels.

A case in point is the Spruance-class destroyers. These ships received significant upgrades, such as the Vertical launch System, and were the basis upon which the Aegis cruisers were built, due in no small part to the fact that the ships were designed with room for growth. This ability to evolve has also proven useful with Aegis systems that have received continuous computer program improvements.

Replacing outdated hardware systems still involves extended and costly shipyard repairs. Given the ongoing march of technology, new ships built from the keel keel

1. the ventrally directed large surface of the bird's sternum, the site of attachment of the major muscles of flight. Called also carina.

2. the prominent area over the sternum in Dachshunds.
 up must be designed for rapid upgrades, such as advanced information systems. A modular design In the context of systems engineering, modular design — or "modularity in design" — is an approach aiming to subdivide a system into smaller parts (modules) that can be independently created and then used in different systems to drive multiple functionalities. , open architecture and a spiral development strategy are essential to making these improvements possible.

This approach is particularly well suited for a smaller, modular, focused-mission platform. The modular design approach planned for LCS would enable it to remain at a high state of technological readiness throughout its service life, which should extend well beyond the average service life of current generation ships.

Today's frigates and destroyers are decommissioned when their combat systems are outdated and it is no longer cost effective or practical to upgrade them, not because the hull, propulsion and electrical distribution systems have no further service life.

The potential for more timely technology insertion will be addressed in the LCS design. As technology matures, the Navy will incorporate it into new LCS modules. Once the technology has been proven, the modules will be installed in ships for at-sea testing and integration with other sensor and combat systems.

Technology Insertion

When the risks of installing the technology have been mitigated to an acceptable level, operational units at sea will replace their modules with new, state-of-the-art systems.

The Littoral Combat Ship's modular, open architecture design will provide three primary benefits during throughout the total ship life cycle:

* Throughout the acquisition cycle, new mission modules can be installed during ship construction without significant non-recurring engineering Non-recurring engineering (NRE) refers to the one-time cost of researching, designing, and testing a new product. When budgeting for a project, NRE must be considered in order to analyze if a new product will be profitable.  to the basic ship.

* The ability to rapidly reconfigure the mission modules will enable the naval or joint force commander to tailor the LCS for the anticipated threat.

* Mission modules will be replaced without putting the ship in dry-dock for extended periods of time, cutting holes in the side of the ship, or running lengths of cables and piping throughout the ship.

This plug-and-play process will enable complete change-out of entire systems. Such an approach will reduce the risk of investing in new technology by not making an acquisition program dependant on Adj. 1. dependant on - determined by conditions or circumstances that follow; "arms sales contingent on the approval of congress"
contingent on, contingent upon, dependant upon, dependent on, dependent upon, depending on, contingent
 the success or failure of a single technology or development.

In the past, ship designers faced the challenge of designing a ship that would be able to conduct traditional open-ocean naval missions, such as anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare “A/S” redirects here. For the Danish stock company form, see Aktieselskab.

“A/S” redirects here. For the Norwegian stock company form, see aksjeselskap.
. In addition to these core competencies, the 21st Century security environment requires designers to incorporate new capabilities to conduct precision strike, volume fires, ballistic missile defense and mine warfare The strategic, operational, and tactical use of mines and mine countermeasures. Mine warfare is divided into two basic subdivisions: the laying of mines to degrade the enemy's capabilities to wage land, air, and maritime warfare; and the countering of enemy-laid mines to permit friendly , to prosecute diesel submarines in the littorals, and to chase down and destroy small, highspeed surface craft.

With the divergent nature of open-ocean and littoral missions, the question of the required ship's size, draft and armament assumes greater prominence. Can an affordable, combat capable ship be designed with sea-keeping ability to allow open-ocean transits while maintaining the draft needed to operate in shallow water See:
  • Shallow water blackout
  • Waves and shallow water
  • Shallow water equations
  • Shallow Water, Kansas
 with speeds required to execute littoral missions?

The next-generation family of ships will distribute capabilities amongst multi-mission and focused-mission ships. For example, today's multimission Aegis cruisers and destroyers-to be joined by tomorrow's DD(X) and CG(X)-will conduct traditional combat operations while fighting in dynamic, high-threat multi-warfare environments.

In addition to these core competencies, multimission ships will conduct precision strike, volume fires, area air defense and ballistic missile defense.

As a focused-mission ship, LOS will complement the other members of the family of ships. Simply put, LCS will operate where it would not be effective to use larger, more capable multi-mission ships. Speed, shallow draft and maneuverability will allow the agile LCS freedom of action to operate near the shore, where larger, deeper draft ships would be constrained severely.

The Littoral Combat Ship will focus on countering the threat of mines, small boats and diesel submarines-employing a rich mixture of manned and unmanned systems, on, over and below the sea. The LCS, additionally, will be capable of conducting secondary missions such as maritime interception and interdiction INTERDICTION, civil law. A legal restraint upon a person incapable of managing his estate, because of mental incapacity, from signing any deed or doing any act to his own prejudice, without the consent of his curator or interdictor.
 operations and homeland defense, special operations Operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement.  and logistic support Noun 1. logistic support - assistance between and within military commands
logistic assistance

support - the activity of providing for or maintaining by supplying with money or necessities; "his support kept the family together"; "they gave him emotional
 for movement of personnel and supplies.

In some scenarios, LCS also will be capable of operating at slow speeds, while on patrol or loitering Loitering (IPA pronunciation: ['lɔɪtəˌrɪŋ] is an intransitive verb meaning to stand idly, to stop numerous times, or to delay and procrastinate. , and at traditional sustained transit speeds of a carrier battle group. It will execute high-speed "sprints" to prosecute small boats or reposition for submarine threats, laying a sensor grid, conducting over-the-horizon operations or retiring from a special operations extraction mission.

Enhanced Survivability sur·viv·a·ble  
1. Capable of surviving: survivable organisms in a hostile environment.

2. That can be survived: a survivable, but very serious, illness.

To enhance survivability, the LCS will incorporate low observable technologies. Its stealth and speed will bolster its self-defense capabilities and allow it to operate where the risk would be too great for other warships. The presence of diesel submarine and mine threats in the littoral will require that LCS be designed with ship quieting, noise monitoring and controlled anti-mine signatures. A shallow draft of 20 feet or less will facilitate shallowwater and near-land excursions.

LCS will operate as part of a netted and distributed force, with near-instantaneous flow of tactical data throughout the force. The architecture will allow participating units to share data from sensors and weapons. The ship will benefit from combined sensor data from all networked platforms, thus minimizing use of its own sensors, which could be reserved solely for self-protection and focused missions.

A new advanced hull design will be needed to make the LOS a fast, agile and stealthy combatant. While employing stealth, onboard sensors and weapons for self-defense, LOS will rely on remotely controlled sensors and weapons delivered by a family of unmanned vehicles operating on, above and below the ocean's surface.

The Littoral Combat Ship will have a flight deck and hangar for helicopters. The flight deck will be available for operating, fueling and supporting unmanned air vehicles. The ship's organic manned and unmanned aerial, surface and underwater vehicles will be networked to the ship, in order to facilitate real-time data Real-time data denotes information that is delivered immediately after collection. There is no delay in the timeliness of the information provided.

Some uses of this term confuse it with the term dynamic data.
 exchange and support littoral warfare littoral warfare
Military combat in and near shallow water depths.
 combat operations. The ship's configuration will allow for the rapid launch and recovery of boats and special operations craft.

To enhance mission accomplishment and survivability, LOS will take advantage of recent breakthroughs in human systems integration, including optimal manning concepts, crew support services support services Psychology Non-health care-related ancillary services–eg, transportation, financial aid, support groups, homemaker services, respite services, and other services  and an integrated command environment.

The size of the crews will be determined by the mission. The ship's manning will support crew rotation in theater as well as ship rotation, depending upon the chosen doctrine. LOS could use forward basing and/or extended forward-deployed operations with crew rotations as a primary methodology of operations.

The size and characteristics of LOS will provide flexibility as to where the unit will be based. Fully self-deployable and capable of sustained underway operations and deployment from homeport to any part of the world, LOS will have the speed and endurance to transit with the battle group. In addition to vertical replenishment The use of a helicopter for the transfer of materiel to or from a ship. Also called VERTREP.  capability, it will have full underway replenishment See: replenishment at sea.  capability and will capitalize on Cap´i`tal`ize on`   

v. t. 1. To turn (an opportunity) to one's advantage; to take advantage of (a situation); to profit from; as, to capitalize on an opponent's mistakes s>.
 automated and modular technologies for all at-sea and inport commodity handling.

Leveraging selected research and development now underway with the DD(X) program, LOS will feature new technology in ship construction in many areas, such as composite materials, new hull design, planar arrays and apertures, as well as human systems integration that will result in reduced crew size.

While the ship's initial propulsion plant may be characteristic of what is found in current ships, the modular design and construction approach will facilitate upgrades with new propulsion technology. LOS also will incorporate novel logistics and maintenance processes. ND

Navy Rear Adm. Don Loren is deputy director for surface ships (N76E) at the office of the chief of naval operations chief of naval operations
n. pl. chiefs of naval operations Abbr. CNO
The ranking officer of the U.S. Navy, responsible to the secretary of the Navy and to the President.
 surface warfare That portion of maritime warfare in which operations are conducted to destroy or neutralize enemy naval surface forces and merchant vessels. Also called SUW.  division.
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Author:Loren, Don
Publication:National Defense
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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