US Navy pleased with industry input on Large Surface Combatant
The US Navy, which released two RfIs for its future Large Surface Combatant (LSC) in February 2019, has received responses from more than 30 potential industry partners, according to an official at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
The navy is ‘definitely pleased with the level of response,’ which will help it develop requirements for the LSC, said Lisa Radocha, executive director for combatants in NAVSEA’s Program Executive Office for Ships. One RfI focused on the platform, while the other addressed the ship’s systems.
The RfIs outlined several features the navy is exploring, including a combat system that will ‘leverage’ the one developed for the new Flight III DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Other features include the ability to easily host future weapons and sensors, and a vertical launch system that accommodates longer and larger missiles.
‘We want to be able to hit that sweet spot where we’re able to balance the state of technology along with the affordability,’ Radocha said at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ Technology, Systems & Ships Symposium, held on 18-20 June in Washington, DC.
LSC will also draw on lessons the navy has learned from its three-ship fleet of DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers (pictured), whose lead vessel is undergoing a combat systems activation to support achieving an initial operational capability in FY2021. For example, the LSC’s shape will probably look more like the sleek, stealthy DDG-1000 than the conventional-looking DDG-51, said RADM William Galinas, program executive officer for ships.
The LSC, which could replace aging cruisers and destroyers, will be influenced by other studies, including an ongoing analysis of alternatives on the future surface combatant force. The navy hopes the LSC, which is currently in ‘concept refinement,’ will be ready for a preliminary design ‘in the next few years’ and a construction source selection in ‘roughly’ 2024, Radocha said.
The navy, meanwhile, is exploring retrofitting Flight I and II DDG-51s with a scaled-back version of the SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) that will go on Flight III destroyers, said VADM Thomas Moore, NAVSEA’s commander. Moore said that such a modification makes more sense in light of the navy’s decision last year to extend the life of the older destroyers to 45 years.
‘We’re taking a pretty close look at that,’ Moore told the symposium. ‘I don’t know how many ships it’s going to go on. It’s a fairly significant change in the structure of the ship to go put AMDR on … but it gets down to pacing the threat.’
Moore said that such a modification would be similar to how the navy is looking at retrofitting Nimitz-class aircraft carriers with a version of the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, which will go on new Ford-class carriers starting with USS John F Kennedy (CVN-79).
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