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Austal Pushes Big Missiles For Small Ships: LCS & VLS

“For the Independence-class LCS, the trimaran design is probably better able to accommodate adding weight in the form of missile launchers higher in the ship,” said Bryan Clark, a retired Navy officer, who’s argued for VLS-equipped LCS in the past. “Compared to the trimaran design, however, it may be easier to increase the Freedom-class’ weight capacity by adding a hull insert to lengthen the ship.” If you don’t make the ship bigger, however, Clark worries that adding both Vertical Launch Systems and Over The Horizon missiles would require taking too many other important systems off. “Based on DOT&E’s testing results and the Navy’s own statements…I believe these additions will consume most of the mission package weight allowance for the ship,” Clark wrote me. “That would probably prevent it from also carrying the ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) mission package.” A frigate that can’t hunt subs would be badly handicapped against either the Chinese or the Russian fleet.

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