General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship
The General Dynamics LCS concept features an innovative, high-speed trimaran hull that delivers one of the largest useable payload volumes of any US Navy surface combatant afloat today. Its very large and stable flight deck that rests higher above the water than any US Navy surface combatant will support near-simultaneous operation of two SH-60 helicopters, one H-53 helicopter or multiple unmanned aerial vehicles. Coupled with the inherent stability of the trimaran hull form, the ship is capable of conducting operations in Sea State 8 conditions and performing full flight operations through Sea State 5. The Littoral Combat Ship is a key element of the Navy's plan to address asymmetric threats. Intended to operate in coastal areas of the globe, the ship will be fast, highly maneuverable and geared to supporting mine detection/elimination, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare, particularly against small surface craft. The General Dynamics approach features an innovative trimaran hull that enables the ship to reach sustainable speeds of over 40 knots and range as far as 10,000 nautical miles with an unmatched interior volume and payload. The ship is designed to allow a crew of fewer than 40 sailors to fully operate, maintain and defend it.
Key characteristics of the ship proposed by the General Dynamics team include:
- Capable of supporting several missions simultaneously.
- Open-architecture information systems enable over-the-horizon surveillance and reconnaissance, global networking and coordinated air, surface and undersea tactical picture.
- Incorporation of stealth technologies increases ship and crew survivability.
- Shallow draft allows operations near the shore.
- More payload per ton of displacement than any previous U.S. warship.
- Huge interior volume delivers enhanced mission capabilities and endurance.
- Supports concurrent and simultaneous operation of two large (H-60) helicopters.
General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) trimaran hull concept vastly improves performance on a wide range of sea conditions enabling extended warfighting availability to the US Navy. The slender center hull and two smaller side hulls gives the smaller ship the operational characteristics of a larger craft providing greater stability in rough seas and combat conditions. Further improving performance, the aluminum structure and selective use of steel provides huge advantages of stability and buoyancy, improved damage protection, reduced magnetic signature (quieter operations) and significant increases in the ship's usable interior space compared to a monohull design. The General Dynamics LCS design has the performance to bring more warfighting capability to the mission front. Modular launch systems and an extended flight deck provide maximum flexibility and enable rapid deployment of UAV, sensors and mission personnel. The General Dynamics LCS solution has the speed and capacity to traverse the changing seas of today's asymmetric threats, providing wider operation envelope (sea keeping, speed, endurance, stability), concurrent helicopter and UAV operations, and quick mission module change.
The trimaran Independence Class LCS design has been tested thoroughly by the US Navy and shown to provide significant benefits to naval operations, including the largest usable payload volume per tonne of ship displacement of all US Navy surface combatants, a large flight deck that has facilitated near simultaneous operation of two helicopters and proven capability of operating the large H-53 helicopter, and operations of multiple unmanned vehicles for reconnaissance and warfare operations. The increased stability of the trimaran hullform has improved flight operations by allowing them to be achieved in higher sea-states than equivalent-sized monohulls and catamarans. Other operational benefits result from the ability of the trimaran configuration to effectively decouple the resistance/powering from the stability relative to an equivalent monohull which can yield a reduction in resistance at higher speeds. The subsequent reduction in the vessel's full-speed power requirements allows a corresponding reduction of around one-third in both fuel consumption.
Growth margin is a basic principle on which the General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is built. Growth margin allows the ship to be tailorable to future missions, whatever the U.S. Navy may find it needs. Beyond today's planned missions, the General Dynamics LCS has the capacity and flexibility to support new Joint Operational Concepts. Joint seabasing will become a critical element of the national defense strategy. Due to the growth margin of the General Dynamics LCS, the ship could provide larger, new joint combat mission packages and serve as a high-speed transport and maneuver platform. In a single lift, the General Dynamics LCS can carry multiple Strykers, armored Humvees, and their associated troops at speeds in excess of 40 knots. The General Dynamics LCS Solution has the cargo space and weight capacity to hold mission systems of today and tomorrow to provide maximum flexibility for the U.S. Navy's future warfighting needs.
The General Dynamics approach features an innovative trimaran hull that enables the ship to reach sustainable speeds of nearly 50 knots and range as far as 10,000 nautical miles with an unmatched interior volume and payload. The ship is designed to allow a crew of fewer than 40 sailors to fully operate, maintain and defend it. With a focus on affordability, LCS will provide the Navy with the capability to defeat terrorist swarm boats, mines, and diesel submarines prevalent in coastal waters around the world.
The General Dynamics approach significantly drives down Navy lifecycle costs for LCS. By using a powerful mix of modern computing technologies and commercial middleware solutions, the General Dynamics design eliminates dependence on legacy infrastructures, provides significant flexibility for the sailor, dramatically reduces manpower requirements through the use of General Dynamics' any-display-anywhere technology, and makes LCS a seamless member of the Navy's network-centric warfare vision.
The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship trimaran hull is based on a proven Austal (Henderson, Australia) design that is currently operating at sea. It will have one of the largest usable payload volumes of any US Navy surface combatant afloat today - providing the flexibility to carry out one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve. The General Dynamics LCS's large flight deck sits higher above the water than any U.S. Navy surface combatant and will support near-simultaneous operation of two SH-60 helicopters or multiple unmanned vehicles. The ultra-stable trimaran hull allows for flight operations in high sea conditions. In addition, the deck is suitable for landing much larger H-53 helicopters, should that become a future requirement.
General Dynamics' fully open, published interface design makes it easy to incorporate new products and technologies from across industry. In combination with the expansive power supply capabilities and large volume created by General Dynamics' unique ship design, this approach will help keep LCS technology current and costs down by using an open business model to constantly solicit, evaluate and rapidly insert worldwide hardware and software technologies into the LCS design.
The General Dynamics Team has designed a technical infrastructure that is not bound by proprietary systems. The result is a flexible information technology backbone that uses strict industry standards, commercially available products and published interfaces to ensure the Navy will not be locked into a proprietary system that will limit access to alternatives. The open architecture design eliminates dependencies on any specific hardware and software products thereby making it possible for the Navy to take advantage of rapidly changing advancements in the market place.
The General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship's open architecture electronics suite significantly contributes to the ship's ability to facilitate a wide range of missions, while incorporating stealth technology to increase crew and ship survivability. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and its team have developed the LCS core mission systems infrastructure - a flexible information technology backbone that allows "plug and play" integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. The approach builds upon General Dynamics' highly-flexible total ship computing environment that meets Navy open architecture requirements and is exclusively built upon published industry standards and non-proprietary interfaces. It allows for future growth and seamlessly integrates both domestic and foreign combat components to create a core mission systems solution that dramatically lowers acquisition and lifecycle costs.
General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Contractor Team
Bath Iron Works is the prime contractor on the program. Austal USA, of Mobile, Ala., a subsidiary of Australian shipbuilder Austal Ships, supported final design efforts for the team's aluminum and steel trimaran warship. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, of Arlington, Va., is leading the ship's open-architecture based Core Mission System design and integration from its Pittsfield, Mass. facility. Other team members include L3 Communications Marine Systems of Leesburg, VA; CAE of Leesburg, Va.; BAE Systems, Rockville, Md.; Maritime Applied Physics Corporation, Baltimore, Md.; Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Baltimore, Md.; and three other General Dynamics companies: Armament and Technical Products (Burlington, Vt.), Electric Boat (Groton, Conn.) and General Dynamics Canada (Ottawa, Ontario).
The General Dynamics LCS core mission systems team includes BAE Systems, Inc., Rockville, Md.; CAE USA, Inc., Marine Systems, Leesburg, Va.; Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Baltimore, Md.; General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Charlotte, N.C.; and General Dynamics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. BAE Systems is responsible for the ship's internal and external communications systems, as well as topside antenna modeling and mission module interface coordination. CAE USA Inc., Marine Systems, is responsible for the ship automation and control system. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is responsible for the Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS). General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products is responsible for all of the weapons and effectors. General Dynamics Canada is responsible for the above- and below-water sensors.
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