How will Littoral Combat Ship drop weight to meet frigate targets?
The US Navy has decided to use the modified Littoral Combat Ship design as the baseline for its future frigates. However, these future frigates are going to be hardened and up-gunned with additional protection and weaponry.
Apparently there will be some weight savings through the removal of the systems that would be used for the mine countermeasures warfare package, which won’t be a capability on the frigates.
Also some systems that will be permanent on the frigates will have already been factored in as part of the Surface Warfare mission package or Anti-Submarine Warfare packages. But there are other areas that have not been identified.
The new frigate will be expected to have additional survivability capabilities including: improved 3D Air Surveillance Radar; improved decoy systems; an upgrade to SeaRAM; SEWIP light EW package; a multifunction towed array sonar; torpedo defence; armour protection around the magazine; and a 25mm gun.
The lethality capabilities are expected to comprise: an over-the-horizon surface-to-surface missile; anti-submarine warfare (ASW)/surface warfare (ASuW) helicopter weapons such as Hellfire, MK 54 torpedo, and 50 cal guns; a multifunction towed array sonar for ASW and a 57mm gun.
In its ASuW configuration the frigate can be expected to have 30mm guns; 11m RHIBs and a ship-launched Hellfire missile capability. In its ASW configuration it will have a variable depth sonar.
Technical Data Packages and an RfP for Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) for combat management systems, warfare system integration and vulnerability improvements are expected earlier during FY17-18.
Given the short time frame to begin building the frigates from FY2019 can industry and the USN find the weight not just for the new systems they want on board but also to future proof them as additional systems become available in the future?