Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • Brad Howard: The US Navy is falling behind on what they say

  • is an important goal building up the force of 355 ships. But at

  • the same time the Navy wants to get rid of some relatively new

  • warships when

  • Unknown: the Navy goes to Congress and and says we want to

  • retire ships, all Congress wants to think about is we already are

  • short on ships. Why are you getting rid of more ships?

  • Brad Howard: One key to growing the fleet is the Littoral Combat

  • ship or LCS. The LCS is designed for littoral areas, which is

  • what are closer to shore. larger ships have trouble operating in

  • these areas because of how shallow the water is, are im

  • Brad Howard with CNBC and today I'll be going aboard the US

  • Navy's Littoral Combat ship, it's one of the Navy's newest

  • and most controversial vessels.

  • Unknown: So the LCS program, much like every other major

  • defense program has had its own series of setbacks,

  • Brad Howard: engine issues and mission module problems in the

  • evolving state of the world and put the ship in choppy waters.

  • Unknown: The question of the of the LCS, his ability to defend

  • itself has become sharper and sharper.

  • It's a zero sum game. Okay, every dollar you spend to keep

  • those LCS is going as $1 you can spend on these other I think

  • higher priorities.

  • Brad Howard: The next ship the Navy hopes to procure that will

  • take on some of the missions of the LCS is the constellation

  • class frigate. This frigate is based on a design already used

  • by several navies, which means it should have fewer teething

  • issues than the LCS.

  • Unknown: But ultimately, at the end of the day, the Navy has

  • more than 30 of the ships, they have to do something with them.

  • They've spent tons and tons of money on this, and they are at

  • the moment now where they have to figure it out because this is

  • going to be a significant part of the fleet going forward.

  • Brad Howard: But with a significant investment already

  • in the LCS can the Navy find a way to make them viable in the

  • post 911 era of great power competition.

  • The LCS program began in 2002. After the 911 terror attacks,

  • the Navy's priorities shifted to fighting terrorism and policing

  • waters closer to shore. The Navy ended up producing two variants

  • of the LCS, the freedom class and independence class, the

  • freedom classes and more traditional steel and aluminum

  • ship and the independence classes and all aluminum

  • trimaran style design. Both ships are built for speed and

  • can hit around 40 knots which is about 46 miles per hour. The USS

  • Milwaukee a freedom class LCS is training off the coast of

  • Florida, which means getting there requires a one hour

  • helicopter ride. The LCS is capable of handling a variety of

  • helicopters on its flight deck including uncrewed helicopters

  • 'away starboard side'. Behind me is a fire scout the MQ-8C fire

  • scout is an uncrewed helicopter that is as big as a normal

  • helicopter, it can help the crew by providing surveillance over

  • the horizon among other uses. The LCS isn't a giant warship it

  • seems like every inch is dedicated to a purpose. The

  • galley where the crew eats is utilitarian, but it provides an

  • area for the crew to unwind during the weeks or even months

  • at sea. And the rear of the ship has a hold capable of being

  • loaded with conex boxes among other types of equipment which

  • can be particularly useful during humanitarian operations.

  • The last LCS was ordered in fiscal year 2019. And the

  • average cost of the last five LCS is ordered was about

  • $983,000,000, 23 ships have bee commissioned in nine ships ar

  • currently under construction o in pre construction

  • Unknown: The freedom class is built by Marionette marine and

  • Wisconsin and the independence class is built by Austal USA in

  • Alabama.

  • Brad Howard: But the LCS hasn't panned out exactly as planned,

  • which could be the reason the Navy has started to decommission

  • four vessels.

  • Unknown: My sense on the LCS is that it probably makes sense.

  • Both because the ships are expensive to maintain. So you

  • got high sustainment costs that you want to try to get down,

  • that they're not meeting the breadth of capabilities that

  • we're looking for. And that's not to say that there aren't

  • some missions that the LCS can capably perform. I'm sure there

  • are. But when you look at the cost of maintaining a ship, that

  • the sustainment costs aren't working, working out as well as

  • you would like. You don't have the same mission set that you

  • need versus beginning to invest in future systems that are going

  • to give you greater capability.

  • You have to look at those ships they were test designs there was

  • a lot of changes that went from those ships into the into the

  • block by so you know, the program office took a hard look

  • and I stand by the decision the Navy made,

  • Brad Howard: both ships have had their share of problems and

  • criticisms. Some observers are concerned that the independence

  • class is not up for surface to surface warfare due to its

  • aluminum hull and light armament. The freedom class has

  • also had engine problems since its inception,

  • Unknown: late last year, when it was discovered that the freedom

  • class the one designed by Lockheed Martin has an issue

  • with it the combining gear which is basically a part of its its

  • propulsion, and this has created a conflict between the Navy and

  • Lockheed Martin everyone In agreement that this is an issue,

  • and it's potentially an issue for all of Lockheed Martin's

  • ships.

  • Brad Howard: In a statement to CNBC Lockheed Martin noted our

  • solution will soon be rigorously tested at sea to validate the

  • improved design modification. Following successful sea trials

  • and navy approval, we will deliver the first modified ship

  • and implement the design modifications for other freedom

  • Class ships.

  • Unknown: In a nutshell, we are right on track to get to put

  • that problem behind us and move on with the future of the

  • freedom class.

  • Brad Howard: So I'm here on the bridge of the USS Milwaukee.

  • what's notable about it is the combination of training and new

  • technology allows for the crew on this bridge to be much

  • smaller than previous frigate designs. The autopilot and

  • advanced helm controls which are used to steer the ship and

  • control the speed are a huge part of what makes the ship so

  • advanced we come

  • Unknown: to these ships prepared to you know, face anything that

  • is thrown at us with a three people that we have on the

  • bridge vice other ships that could have anywhere 12 1415

  • people,

  • Brad Howard: the LCS was designed to operate with a small

  • crew size an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer which displaces about

  • three times as many tons as an LCS fully loaded needs a crew of

  • around 300 sailors by comparison in LCS has a crew of around 90

  • depending on mission needs and additionally each LCS has two

  • crews that rotate to enable a higher operational tempo.

  • Unknown: My entire engineering department on LCS is about 12

  • people that is designed that is about the size of one

  • engineering division on conventional ships,

  • Brad Howard: new technologies and sailors working multiple

  • jobs helped keep the crew numbers so low compared to

  • larger ships.

  • Unknown: We by far have the premier surface navy ship

  • training in the LCS program, and it goes back to the blue and

  • gold crew. It goes back to the employment concept.

  • Brad Howard: One downside is that there are fewer sailors in

  • the event of an incident that requires damage control. Another

  • is that if a crew member is taken out of action, it could be

  • difficult to replace their expertise on the fly. What

  • Unknown: the Navy originally envisioned for the LCS ships was

  • that they would be equipped with a series of different mission

  • modules. And what I mean by that was that they would have sort of

  • a plug and play aspect to that

  • Brad Howard: the Navy is now pivoting towards dedicated rules

  • for the LCS is in service.

  • Unknown: We are still tied to the modular systems. The change

  • that we made in 2016 was instead of the Envision where we might

  • swap those modules out over a two or three day period, we

  • found it was more effective to kind of tie that module to that

  • ship.

  • Brad Howard: The LCS is equipped with a rigid hull inflatable

  • boat or rhib. These boats are also useful for search and

  • rescue, counter piracy and also for certain sorts of maritime

  • inspection. The crew of than the Milwaukee took me on an exercise

  • where the rip would be launched from the LCS in order to send

  • sailors to board another vessel but a critical hose malfunction

  • which prevented the doors from opening. The crew quickly and

  • safely fixed the hose communicating loudly through

  • each step of the process. After the rhib was launched, the

  • sailors performed a boarding exercise supported by a

  • helicopter from the LCS one of the main advantages a ship like

  • the LCS brings to the fleet is capabilities such as this sort

  • of interdiction. The small boat and aerial support the LCS can

  • bring to bear is also useful in humanitarian situations such as

  • when Haiti experienced an earthquake in August of this

  • year.

  • Unknown: USS Billings is one of the first ones on scene so you

  • have LCS on scene with their helicopter providing

  • humanitarian relief

  • culturally, I think the service has never really liked the ship

  • because it's it's not a Bluewater ship, like lobbing

  • missiles 1000s of miles away and, and getting into these

  • really big epic fights in the middle of the ocean. And you

  • know, the US Navy's never really been enamored since the end of

  • the World War Two. With small ships, it's never been something

  • that they've been particularly into.

  • Brad Howard: The Navy is hoping to retire some Littoral Combat

  • ships to free up money for the next generation frigate that is

  • slated to take on a number of important missions. This frigate

  • will displace about twice as many tons as the LCS

  • Unknown: when the Navy's mine, they're saving money. They call

  • it divest invest, they're saving money to put money back into

  • something that they do want. A frigate

  • Brad Howard: is a type of ship that is generally known to be

  • made for speed and capable of handling many different

  • missions. The constellation class will be based on a

  • Fincantieri, Marinette marine design known as the European

  • multipurpose frigate, which is already in service with several

  • other countries including Italy and France.

  • Unknown: So the constellation class frigates were born from

  • intense congressional pressure in order to find another follow

  • on class for the LCS. And so a lot of that was the late john

  • mccain beating the Navy and on the head and shoulders, saying

  • that you need to get something else.

  • Brad Howard: The Navy is hoping to buy 20 ships and they're

  • aiming at a cost of around a billion dollars per ship. It is

  • hoped that by picking a proven design, this will keep costs

  • down. But the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that

  • the Navy's cost estimate is 40% lower than what it could

  • actually be. cost,

  • Unknown: Congress would like to see her value for its

  • investment.

  • I'm not going to stand here and say, oh, great job on the

  • frigate. We got to keep busting their balls to make sure that

  • they are, you know, hitting the goals and meeting things we

  • have. But I think we have a better path forward now to

  • building systems that will work and that will help us and doing

  • so in a more cost effective way. We haven't really keep pushing

  • that though

  • Brad Howard: these frigates also have what is known as a vertical

  • launch system. This allows a ship to carry more missiles in

  • an efficient way lay down what are known as cells

  • Unknown: that's able to fire anti air and anti ship missiles.

  • It has a beefier radar than the LCS

  • Brad Howard: does. One major criticism of the LCS is that it

  • would be outgunned in any modern fight with other surface ships

  • or against aircraft.

  • Unknown: The LCS is deficiency in the face of defense against

  • air and missile threats, especially with China and Iran

  • moving closer together with military cooperation is a

  • problem.

  • Brad Howard: At the end of the day. The LCS is a Navy warship

  • and it's designed to engage with the enemy. The LCS has a 57

  • millimeter main gun

  • Unknown: primary purposes the anti Surface Warfare can be used

  • against anti air warfare as well. You don't expect a gun

  • this big to shoot that fast. But when it starts pulling out

  • rounds, it's it's definitely impressive to watch.

  • You know the 30 millimeter guns that that ship has. Every single

  • crew that comes back from deployment has gotten us out of

  • the out of that system. There is also a missile element of that

  • SSM mm or service ship mission missile module, which is a

  • longbow hellfire missile that we have, and it's coming in and

  • more numbers to put on the ship.

  • Brad Howard: The freedom class also has smaller machine guns

  • and some defensive weapons. In the case of the Milwaukee a

  • rolling airframe missile launcher is installed on the

  • ship to help take down enemy air threats. The freedom Class ships

  • in operation are also awaiting an upgrade that will place the

  • Naval Strike missile onboard which will be a huge upgrade in

  • the ship's ability to fight other warships something that

  • the Pentagon wants in an era of strategic competition.

  • Unknown: With that missile there's many other lethality

  • upgrades that the LCS are getting, which I cannot talk

  • about right now. But again, you're taking a lethal, stealthy

  • ship, who's able to go fast in other tutorials and making it

  • much more deadlier and lcss

  • Brad Howard: have also launched Harpoon missiles and modified