Navy Sticks With LCS Despite Engine Troubles; Lockheed Races To Make Fixes

Breaking Defense – Two of the Navy’s newest Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships will sit in port for months while Lockheed Martin develops, tests and installs fixes to a major propulsion issue found on all 16 ships in the class. 

Navy to Expand Land-Based Testing for Unmanned Vessels, Conduct Offensive Firepower Analysis for USVs

USNI News – A longstanding slogan for the best use of unmanned systems is to perform “dull, dirty and dangerous” missions instead of humans.

F-35 Block 4 Upgrades And New F-35B At-Sea Users

Naval News – U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs and U.S. Navy F-35Cs will mature with Block 4 software upgrades. But Full F-35 Production Waits for the Biden Administration to Make Key Production Decisions. Meanwhile, the number of foreign operators of F-35B is growing.

The U.S. Needs an Official Sixth Fleet History, and the Europeans Do Too

CIMSEC – It is highly unlikely that this year, 75 years after the USS Missouri’s trip to Turkey for a show of force in the emerging post-World War II order, will be commemorated with a similar U.S. naval deployment – due to the absence of battleships in the American warship inventory, the raging pandemic, and the divide in Turkish-American and Turkish-NATO relations in the wake of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s politics. It should, however, signal the start to an honest effort conceptualizing American naval presence and seapower in Europe. It is as important for Americans as it is for Europeans.     

Here are the challenges involved in building the future US Navy

Defense News – The cost-management problem is best summarized by the replacement cost of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard. Original cost in constant dollars is $1.3 billion. The Navy says that current replacement cost is $4.1 billion. This is a clear case of out-of-control requirements creep and manufacturing inefficiency at many levels.

Reestablish First Fleet: Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific

USNI Blog – The U.S. Navy should consider reestablishing First Fleet in Singapore to provide strategic deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and reduce transit time to the area of responsibility (AOR) in the South China Sea.

Ingalls Eyeing LPD Cost Reductions, Capability Increases As Future Fleet Design Evolves

USNI News – As the Navy looks to smaller and cheaper manned and unmanned ships to fill out its future fleet, a larger amphibious warship program is positioning itself to remain in shipbuilding plans by highlighting the ability to continue bringing costs down – including through a potential first-ever multi-ship buy – and adding capability.

Navy Working on Better Maintainability, Self-Sufficiency for LCS and Rest of Surface Fleet

USNI News – Navy officials in Washington and on the waterfront are trying to help the Littoral Combat Ships grow more reliable and maintainable, amid a surface navy-wide effort to focus on crew-level maintenance as a means of improving operational availability.

US Navy halts deliveries of Freedom-class littoral combat ship

Defense News – The U.S. Navy has halted deliveries of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship, citing a design flaw with the ship’s transmission.

US War Surge Production Too Slow, CSIS Finds

Breaking Defense – The United States could not make enough military equipment fast enough to sustain its military in the event of a major war. While much thought has been given to how a great power conflict might erupt or play out, far less has been written on how the U.S. industrial base could sustain U.S. wartime equipment losses in such a conflict.

Lockheed Martin Progressing Towards LRASM Integration On F-35

Naval News – During the Surface Navy Association (SNA) 2021 Virtual Symposium held last week, Lockheed Martin was showcasing a new artist impression showing two LRASM fitted on a F-35 Lightning II.

Navy Integrating Littoral Combat Ships, Expeditionary Sea Base into New Operating Concepts

USNI News – Surface warfare leaders throughout the Navy last week mused about how to employ new classes of ships such as the Littoral Combat Ship and Expeditionary Sea Base, as the fleet transitions to a new type of operations against peer competitors.

Off the California coast, the US Navy tests hunting subs with an aerial drone

Defense News – The U.S. Navy and General Atomics in November used sonobuoys dropped from an MQ-9A Block V Reaper to track a simulated submarine target on a U.S. Navy Pacific test range, in what the contractor says is the first time an aerial drone has deployed a self-contained anti-submarine warfare system.

The Chief Of Naval Operations Has A Navigation Plan For China

1945 – James Holmes writes that haste is a recurring theme in Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday’s 2021 “Navigation Plan,” released this week. 

In the wake of tragedy, the US surface fleet is all in on simulators

Defense News – In his address this week at the annual Surface Navy Association symposium, top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener told a virtual audience that the surface community is increasingly relying on simulators to give officers and sailors alike the chance to keep their skills sharp, even if they are unable to get underway.

Design Delays on Columbia Sub Program Leading to Construction Delays, Cost Increases

USNI News – The Government Accountability Office released a new report that warns Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine cost and schedule plans are at risk due to problems with a new digital design tool and cascading effects stemming from the design challenges.

Hypersonics, Unmanned Ship Teaming Ahead for Zumwalt Destroyer

Breaking Defense – Navy officials said this week that the destroyer, which still hasn’t been deployed almost five years after she was christened, might find a place in the fleet after all.

U.S. Navy Ohio Class Submarine Filmed By Iranian Navy While Submerged

Naval News – It seems probable that a US Navy submarine, the USS Georgia (SSGN 729), has been detected by Iranian forces in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz. The circumstances are unclear.

Do the earliest Arleigh Burke-class destroyers still have legs? The US Navy thinks so.

Defense News – Between 1991, when the Navy commissioned the USS Arleigh Burke, and 1998, when it commissioned the USS Mahan, the service built the class at a pace of three per year. Now, as those ships are bearing down on their 35-year expected hull life, the Navy wants to grow its fleet, but it lacks the budget and capacity to modernize those first 21 ships to the latest configurations. So while the fleet will try to keep them around as long as possible, it will have to get creative in its problem-solving approach.

For the US Navy, the future of shipbuilding (and warfare) is in the power plant

Defense News – The U.S. Navy wants to buy a next-generation large surface combatant by the end of the 2030s, but its not being built for a new kind of sensor or weapon system. The newly dubbed DDG(X) is being built for power.

SWO boss: ‘Many challenges remain’ in fixing surface fleet’s manning problems

Navy Times – Chronic manning shortfalls aboard U.S. Navy warships were found to have contributed to the fatal 2017 collisions of the Fitzgerald and John S. McCain, disasters that killed 17 sailors and scarred many more of their shipmates for life.While the surface fleet has made improvements in manning its ships in recent years, more remains to be done, the head of Naval Surface Forces said Tuesday.

Here’s the latest on the US Navy’s new Constellation-class frigate

Defense News – The U.S. Navy’s next-generation frigate, the Constellation class, is a do-or-die effort for the service and a critical test of its return to building ships around existing technologies rather than designing them around technologies in development.

The Tri-Service Maritime Strategy: Reading Between the Lines

CIMSEC – The Navy has not had a formal strategy process, most capstone documents being the products of an ad hoc effort, so it is never a routine occurrence when one is issued. Thus it is a worthwhile exercise to try and read between the lines of a new document. Hopefully this exercise will be of use to readers.

Navy Wants to Shed Aegis Ashore Mission, But Army Still Hasn’t Agreed to Take It

USNI News – The chief of naval operation’s new call to focus on sea control and power projection could lead the service to shed other non-core missions the Navy conducts today, such as manning Aegis Ashore missile defense sites. The biggest problem is, no one else has agreed to take over that mission yet.