A closer look at the “Modified LCS”

The announcement Dec. 11 by the senior leadership of the Pentagon and US Navy that the Small Surface Combatant (SSC) will be a modified version of existing Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) was no surprise to most followers of this saga. What was surprising was the absence of any major changes to the ships.

Here are the designs presented by the Navy that show what changes will be made to the designs of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom (LCS 1)-class and Austal USA’s Independence (LCS 2)-class ships. Both teams gave the Navy several options for what could be done with their designs — we show high-end illustrations of them next to what the Navy has chosen.

By the way, the Navy hasn’t yet decided what to call the new ships. The office of the secretary of defense (OSD) uses SSC, but in its briefs to the media on Dec. 11 the Navy scrupulously avoided the term, calling the ships “Modified Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).” “We haven’t gotten to the nomenclature yet,” Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations, told reporters.

The Navy’s brief lists the changes and additions to the ships. Changes are on the right, in yellow. (US Navy)

SSC Modified LCS characteristics

Here’s the modified Freedom-class variant. The Navy will retain a mission-centric configuration for the ships for anti-submarine (ASW) and surface (SUW) warfare, although to a much lesser degree than existing LCSs. These illustrations show the ships configured for SUW, with 30mm guns installed. (US Navy)

SSC Modified LCS Lockheed

Here’s an illustration Lockheed provided of their “up-gunned” LCS proposal for the SSC. It shows the ship fitted with vertical-launch missile systems (VLS), a 76mm gun, and more capable sensors. The ships are shown launching Standard SM-2 surface-to-air missiles from the forward VLS and Harpoon surface-to-surface missile from tube launchers fitted amidships. (Lockheed Martin)LCS1 & LCS3Lockheed also prepared variants of the design for the international market, with hulls larger and smaller than the US Navy’s 118-meter long version. The top ship is 150 meters long, with VLS fore and aft, a bigger gun, and a phased-array sensor suite. The LCS 1-class hull is center, with an 85-meter corvette at bottom. All the variants are fitted with a hull-mounted sonar. (Lockheed Martin) Lockheed Martin family MMC-150m-118m-85m med

This is the version of Austal USA’s Independence class LCS selected by the Navy as the Modified LCS. It shows the same upgrades and changes as on the modified Freedom-class ship. (US Navy)

SSC Modified LCS Austal USA

Here’s Austal USA’s SSC proposal, powerfully armed, like the Lockheed ship, with VLS, a bigger gun, and a more capable sensor suite. The ship is depicted launching a Harpoon missile. The VLS launchers are abreast the stack atop the superstructure. (Austal USA)

SSC Austal 2014-Rendering med






Christopher P. Cavas
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Christopher P. Cavas

If it's on, over, under or around the water, I write about it. Ships and aircraft, units, tactics, leadership, strategies, acquisition, politics, industry. In the USA and around the world.
Christopher P. Cavas
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