Independance & Freedom - Politics | PoFo

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Military vehicles, aircraft, ships, guns and other military equipment. Plus any general military discussions that don't belong elsewhere on the board.

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By Typhoon
Was looking at a national geographic documentary on the activities of USS Independence and USS Freedom "21st Century Warship", was surprised by the content of the documentary and that the Navy let it surface. They may have blanked out the opp's room screens but more damage was done from the unclassified material, seriously nothing worked!

The ships return to the use of aluminium and appear to be understaffed or "optimally manned", which does not give much confidence as to the survivability of the vessels. The cook/cleaner/medic/other etc. had to race out the kitchen to do a foreign object sweep for a helicopter take off, the vessels are supposed to be fast multiple role vessels but only have the crew for single actions at once.

Though the vessels are very fast and maneuverable the USS Independence was noted as being very unstable due to its trimaran design, the vessel then set off doing a lot of helicopter and underwater vehicle launches which looked like they required a stable platform, the underwater vehicle (especially when combined with water pump propulsion) was a disaster and broke down multiple times and had the most unhelpful deployment and capture mechanism you could imagine. Then the USS Independence had a breakdown of a hydraulic hose (fire concerns in the aluminium hull) causing more issues.

Both vessels appear to be woefully under armed, one 57 mm cannon and a helicopter, the combat module to be tested added ... wait for it ... two 30 mm cannon! They both promptly broke down.

While the cannons on USS Freedom did eventually get going the sensors on the vessels seem paltry, spotted the enemy force at 8 miles and engaged at less than two, you do wonder how realistic that would be against a ship armed with more than just RPG and a machine gun. The ships new 30 mm cannon seemed outclassed by the original 57 mm gun mount which makes you wonder what they bring to the party in the first place? Where are the Griffin missiles, a paltry naval missile (5.5 km range) but at least a missile.

You can see the documentary on youtube.

One thing that came though though was the enthusiasm and dedication of the captains and crew, beset by problems you really felt sorry for them by the end of the documentary, if only they had better ships?
By Xbow
Those littoral warships were overpriced pieces of pork-barrel shit from day one. Check their pathetic armament suit and $800,000,000 dollar price tag. One of those gold plated ships wouldn't last 5 minutes in combat with a primitive Russian Tarantul-class corvette. Those pieces of junk were spawned by the idiotic notion that a special ship was needed to haul around special operations teams in Littoral waters. An up gunned, missile armed National Security Cutter would have been a superior solution.
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By Groves
Is green water really the explanation for the LCS, or are these test-bed next generation ASW corvettes (the focus on mine warfare in the video seems to support this conclusion, as does the presence of civilian engineers everywhere).

Thank you for the documentary, Typhoon. I am watching that right now. My expectations are a justification for the immense cost of the platform.

Edit: the directing of this documentary is abysmal. I find it rather annoying that TV documentaries on cable feel it stylistically desirable to imitate a Tony Scott movie, or an episode of Future Weapons.

Edit 2: this documentary is an unbelievable expose into the results of an a land power's naval developments. The combination of an engineering culture and a land power mentality regarding naval warfare is demonstrated in the absurd exercises and crew reactions. Admittedly, this is for TV, and admittedly, these are experimental vessels.

However, if the culture is generally true for the USN's surface assets, I find this documentary expose rather worrying.

I think the practitioners involved, demonstrate an intensive material culture bias. Is this because they're acting for the camera? Is this a reflection of broader trends in a technologically intensive naval development programme? These are all worrying observations with no clear explanations.

Edit 3: There is, however, a certain, shall I say, piratical, element to the crew that I find refreshing. With a crew of 40 (!) this is inevitable. Hardly more than a First World War submarine. On the other hand, the officers seemed no different from typical salaried grocery store managers. Autistic, superficial. Business like, but unthinking. The senior officer on Independence appeared more critical and seamanlike than his counterpart on Freedom.

The former has a bit at 37:50 where he talks about "crossing the T" which is just absurd in the context. Presumably he was aware of this and just hamming for the camera, but still.

I should add that the XOs on both ships seemed very reasonable. Prepared to assume command.


Edit 4: the part at 23:22 on cleaning duty aboard USS Independence was straight out of the Victorian navy. The naval aviation minefield search component set off alarm bells. It's good to see this is a regular practice, however, the execution of the affair was no better than mine-sweeping naval aviation efforts at the Dardanelles. The technology wish-wash not withstanding, the success of the effort seemed highly questionable (the mine warfare specialist called his systems "a science project"). Furthermore, the helicopter costs 24 millions dollars? The submarine 12 million? My god.

The part at 48:30 about launching the sonar array submarine kit was unbelievable. James Cameron ]did a better jobunder worse circumstances on a Disney funded scientific mission than did the USN under military discipline.

This is more fodder for my experimental argument. These ships are effectively the equivalent of HMS Ark Royal (minus the "optimally manned" element which seems ridiculously low in Freedom and Independence, and for what advantage?) They could possibly act as force multipliers in specific maritime situations, but otherwise I would find their value debatable. That said, if the analogy holds, I'd rather have them as assets in the battle group than not.

the idiotic notion that a special ship was needed to haul around special operations teams in Littoral waters.

Indeed, the airforce has similar gold-plated aircraft. Ie, the MC-130.

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