Home » Sea » LCS5 Gets New Waterjets

LCS5 Gets New Waterjets

by Kris Osborn on May 15, 2014

131216-N-ZZ999-101The Navy’s fifth Littoral Combat Ship is the first vessel to receive new waterjets engineered to improve propulsion and fuel efficiency, service officials said.

“The fuel efficiency that we derive is incredibly impressive. We’re not talking about one or two percentages – we’re talking about 10 percent improvement in efficiency from the waterjet,”  Rear Adm. Mathew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee May 14.

Now installed on the USS Milwaukee, or LCS 5, the new waterjets provide improved performance compared to previous waterjet models, said Ki-Han Kim, Office of Naval Research program officer, Sea Warfare and Weapons Division.

“Advancements in waterjet technology will reduce operational maintenance costs and improve availability for ships to deliver mission results,” Kim added in a written statement.  “The waterjets deliver the same top speed and efficiency as existing waterjets on LCS 1 and LCS 3, but with reduced noise and vibration, reduced life-cycle costs, improved maintainability, increased availability and potentially improved efficiency at lower speeds.”

The waterjets, developed from 2006 through 2011, improve what’s called cavitation performance, the process of creating partial vacuums in a liquid.

“The new waterjets benefit from an improved hydrodynamic design architecture that reduces the size of the waterjet and the damaging effects of cavitation through the use of improved impeller blade design techniques, while maintaining a high propulsive efficiency,” Kim said.

Development of the waterjets includes a partnership in funding between the Office of Naval Research, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, and Rolls-Royce Marine, North America.  The new waterjets have gone through extensive tests and validations at industry and government testing facilities and also been put through reduced scale at-sea demonstrations, Kim added.

Klunder praised the waterjet development as an example of effective industry-government partnerships.

The Navy plans to add the new waterjets to every Freedom variant of the LCS that is produced, Navy officials said. Each LCS requires four waterjets.

The first units were installed on LCS 5 in the summer of 2013 and full scale units have now been delivered for LCS 5, LCS 7 and LCS 9. Units for LCS 11 and LCS 13 are currently in production. Rolls-Royce won an initial competition to develop the waterjets in 2006 and has since gone on to be awarded a second phase to develop and deliver full-scale waterjets, Kim said.

“During the second phase, more improvements were made to the initial design and intermediate scale testing was performed on a Navy small boat,” he explained.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

d. kellogg May 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I suppose it's a mixed bag, but it IS good that they are seeing improvements into the vessels at this pace.
Bad in that, if every few vessels sees a marked improvement over the previous, it may get individually expensive as each ship is needing unique upgrades thru its life, rather than across-the-fleet standard improvement packages, that the ships' modularity suggested would keep costs low.


RWB123 May 15, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Yes and no as to this being bad.

The costs of LCS 1 and 2 skyrocketed largely because the Navy kept changing the designs even as the ships were being built. Work that had been installed was constantly being torn out and replaced with whatever the flavor of the current week was. That's not the way to run a railroad or a shipyard either.


blight_ May 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

Which is why it makes sense to prototype before you commit to a serial production run.


Rob C. May 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Too true, but look what happens with prototypes? RAH-66 Helicopter stayed a prototype for number years until it cancelled due to cost. Same would happened here. It expensive, but production work helps keep cost down too if you have people actually gave a damn doing so.


hibeam May 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm

The Pentagon paid $150 per gallon for green jet fuel. How much did the fuel efficiency increase cost? When will the ships break even? Inquiring minds want to know.


JohnnyRanger May 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

Imagine how much experienced jet fuel would've cost! ;-)


Kurt Montandon May 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm

The Pentagon paid $150/gal. for green jet fuel because it was a limited, 1500 gallon batch, where R&D costs wouldn't be offset by mass production and sale.


blight_ May 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Think of how much money those silly government types wasted on horseless chariots for battlefield! Silliness, since we all know a horse and saber can send any rabble of infantry aflight!


JohnnyRanger May 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Wrong. We have pikes!


tiger June 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

Shhush. You want the eco nuts to make us go back to sails? Now that would be Super green fuel. Wind power for all……


Lance Brown May 15, 2014 at 9:07 pm

More Billion wsted on this piece of crap.


Chuang Shyue Chou May 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm

It does make me wonder if the originals were flawed.


xXTomcatXx May 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

The originals weren't flawed. They've been used for years on other vessels. These are just remarkably superior. Go ONR and NSWC CD.


flynavy May 16, 2014 at 3:36 am

we will never learn. we have other platforms that could be made highly effective incorparating this kind technolgy (CG ,DDG).Why do we have to start from scratch every time.


xXTomcatXx May 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

LCS is the only waterjet ship in the navy. So, no, they couldn't.


jsand8494 May 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Fly navy divers need the work


flynavy May 16, 2014 at 3:46 am

LCS does nothing other then go really fast till it runs out of gas money. which don't take long. No real armament offesive or defensive and I would hate to think about damage control on that hull if she did take a hit. You better have some good HT's and DC men.


TonyC. May 16, 2014 at 7:39 am

LCS is a large patrol boat, they should put surface to surface missiles on it and a surface to air missile system. Then send it out in packs like the current PC craft are sent. Since the US navy doesn't want any more frigates, then the LCS will have to fill that void.


blight_ May 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

It's a long range patrol ship. When you make a ship intended for long range duty and make it small, it leaves little room for weapons systems. It will never look as well-armed as a short range FAC that is far lighter and packs far more anti-ship missiles.

We could consider buying some Marine Protectors from Bollinger if we are still looking for something smaller than a Cyclone.


Big-Dean May 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

"make it small" you say, blight the LCS come in at over 3000 tons, that BIGGER than a WWII destroyer! The LCS is not a patrol boat, it's bigger than a destroyer but it has no weapons, nor range, nor crew, nor survivability, no offensive punch……..perhaps a new classification is needed, we call it PB-1 (pig boat)

but let's have some fun and compare, the LCS
3,000 t (3,000 t) (full load)[
3,500 nmi (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)[4]
weapons (1) 57mm gun

and now the Fletcher class destroyer:
2,500 tons (full load)
5,500 miles at 15 knots
weapons (5) 127mm guns, 6-10 40mm bofors, 7-20 20 guns, plus torpedoes, plus depth charges

we could build all 54 of the pig boat class er I mean the LCS and that entire fleet wouldn't have the firepower of a single WWII Fletcher


blight_ May 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Very little room is left to anything else after the rest of LCS' insane requirements are met. Dual engines, large empty internal volume for modules et al…

In terms of mass and size it is quite large.

We could play this size game with Fast Attack Craft…an Osa missile boat is bigger than a PT boat, for example. But at least an Osa can hit targets from much farther away, and more accurately.


tiger June 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

All we needed was to go to Europe & buy Corvettes from folks who have 50 years of success in making them. The Germans, Swedes & French would sold you craft a lot better & cheaper.

tiger June 4, 2014 at 11:12 am



Sunder May 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm

one nice thing about these crafts are that they are test beds for future technology on our fleet. Can you imagine a carrier retrofit of waterjets? Not overly impossible.


blight_ May 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm

FSF-1 was the test bed for many of the technologies that people think are the coolest thing since sliced bread. No, the fact that LCS is hitting overruns means they didn't learn enough from FSF-1 or saw fit to keep fiddling around instead of committing to production articles.


xXTomcatXx May 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Where do you think these jets came from?


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Isoroku Yamamoto May 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Does anyone know if Ki-Han Kim, Office of Naval Research program officer, Sea Warfare and Weapons Division, is from South Korea or North Korea? With the current administration I wouldn't want to guess.


Mitchell Fuller May 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm

LCS building program = Concurrency…….. And we've seen how that worked with F-35…..


Big-Dean May 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

they are following the Microsoft business model, put out a flawed product then make lots and lots of money putting out 'service packs' that fix the flaws, in this case "service pack Waterjet"


blight_ May 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Support contracts cost money. And they're a heck of a lot more useful than service packs.


Guest May 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

Very exciting. We now have a far more fuel efficient warship that has no significant offensive capability, and can't absorb damage. And just where are those anti-mine and anti-submarine modules? Coming Real Soon Now?


Big-Dean May 19, 2014 at 11:27 am

it's going to e a warship right after the Windows 7 war module is installed, the Chinese, err ,I mean our friends in India are splicing the code together as we speak


blight_ May 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm

What war module? Hellfires and 30mm guns for plinking armed speedboats instead of FACs/cruise-missile-boats?


d. kellogg May 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

That's a Police Action / Anti-Piracy / PC module.
"War" is a bad term; makes the Navy out to be killers on the seas,
NOT peacekeepers of the seas.
So no War Modules.



Big-Dean May 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

when are we going to learn that simply putting more and more lipstick on this pig will not change it- it's still a pig and it needs to go to the slaughter house


Richard Bennison May 21, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Good one,Big Dean !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Big-Dean May 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

Well, it's a good thing they finally got that "RIMPAC show the flag" module" just in time for RIMPAC 2014!
Lockhead Martin did a great job on that module, in came in at only $789 million which was just slightly over the original budge of $2.05 and they got it done in less than six years! BZ!!!!!

The "RIMPAC show the flag module" is going to be a real hit and it going to impress all of the Navies of the world. In fact, I've heard that the Afganistan Navy is interested in buying it ;-P


Big-Dean May 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

It's official folks, it is not politically incorrect to call the LCS the "little crappy" ship-that is demeaning, bullying, and racist

From this day forward a more suitable name will be used that better reflects it's deep heritage and culture, Introducing the new PB-1 class naval ship or better know as the Pig Boat ;-P "oink oink"


blight_ May 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Armed Transport.


Richard Bennison May 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm

What really sucks is our illustrious government nitwits took the first five Ticonderoga class cruisers out of service at about 20 years young. To date, one may be saved as a museum,one was sunk, and it looks like the other three are, or will be scrapped. Those 5 ships, had they been saved, would have been a better investment to keep running than these worthless POS's!!!!!!!!!!


tiger June 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

have to make the accountants happy… Sorry.


Vpanoptes June 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

'' 'Hmm, so we save on fuel but no increase in speed. Wouldn't matter anyway, still can't outrun or survive an ASM


tiger June 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

Would you settle for it being the best armed waterski boat in the world?


blight_ June 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Our Seadoo fires Davy Crockett atomic mortars….


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Jerold August 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort
to produce a great article… but what can I say… I put things
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blight_ June 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

True, but the Navy has some pretty strange requirements that nobody else thinks is practical enough to design to.


Rhys F June 9, 2014 at 4:08 am

No, only the English have what the US navy needs, long range ships. The continential EU powers have short rnage boats that stick close to the coast or stay med-side. The Brits, along with the Kiwis and Aussies need ships which can go long distances out at sea.


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