Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Albason Class - the True LCS?

Absalon at Sea (click on the picture to see more)

Specifications should come first I suppose so I will start with those;


One 127 mm Deck Gun, two 35 mm Millenium CIWS guns,2 twin Stinger SAM launchers, 5* Stanflax containers (currently outfitted with);

  • two stanflex containers loaded with 16 harpoon SSM
  • three stanflex containers loaded with either 36 ESSM or 18 NSSM SAMs
added to this a number of 12.7 mm machine-guns - Up to 7, and an undiscoed number of Light machine-guns, with the bonus of 2 twin ASW torpedo launcjer with a limited number of reloads; just to make it a really 'fun' party


4 × 12-barrelled Terma DL-12T 130 mm decoy launchers, 2 × 6-barrelled Terma DL-6T 130 mm decoy launchers

Other deployable decoys can be fitted although this depends apon mission, what outfitting they take


2 helicopters currently: but crucially are fitted to be moded, so could well take UAVs one day or even sooner


2 small fast patrol boats; again though do have space to take more

The Flex Deck

It this deck which allows the Absolon class to be called "flexible support ships" or "combat support ships" (more rightfully so than the last considering their arnament). The class is a frigate, but it has a huge open space, called the 'flex deck', something which is made really flexible by its stern vehicle access ramp.

Due to this space, the ships can serve as task group command platforms for a staff of 75 persons (naval or joint staff) with a containerised command and control centre; or it could be both the transport and the dockside base of operations for a company-sized landing force of around 200 personnel with vehicles.

Alternatively the flex deck can be used for mine-laying operations with a capacity of some 300 mines, or the flex deck can be fitted out for mine-clearing operations and launch and recover mine detecting and clearing equipment via a retractable gantry crane, adjacent to the stern ramp, which also is used for launching and recovering the fast landing crafts.

Added to all this the flex deck can support a containerized hospital or simply transport a number of ISO standard containers or some 55 vehicles including, up to 7 MBTs.

So to coin the phrase of Scot is making on mike's post is proved possible; instead of building a complex system build a huge encolsed space, with an access ramp that a lorry or even a tank can get up.

Displacement: 6,600 tons full load
Length: 137.6 m (451 ft 5 in)
Beam: 19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)


Propulsion: 2 MTU 8000 M70 diesel engines; two shafts, 22,300 bhp (16.4 mW)
Speed: >24 kn (44 km/h)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)


Complement: 100 + aircrew and transients (accommodation for up to 300 in total)

Sensors and processing systems

Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D volume search radar
Terma Scanter 2100 surface search radar
Atlas ASO 94 sonar
4 × Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars
ES-3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures (ESM)

The Question

Is this ship the better LCS?


definitely; as you could build 3 dream corvettes and 3 absalon's for the price of 2 LCS, and still have plenty of change...that is what I would prefer.

after all then you could deploy 3 pairs to do jobs, instead of having to decide which two get one hull apiece....it also allows for greater tactical flexibility.

yours sincerely



  1. A better mothership...yes.
    A better fire support platform?...yes.
    A better shallow-water ship?...ehhh.

    The problem is that the current design and armaments of the LCS ships is not well configured for operating as a limited mothership that can also provide an adequate self-defense for itself. So Absalon is certainly great (especially as a Frigate replacement), but multiple answers are needed.

    I'd suggest this blog, in fact, this post of this blog:

    It runs in Portuguese, with the occasional English, French, and Spanish posts.

    The Absalon is a good replacement for the LPD-17 as a mothership (particularly in terms of cost and self-defense capability), but it doesn't fill the role of small combatant. That's where your dream corvette comes in. :)


  2. CBD,
    If the Absalon is a good replacement for the LPD-17 but not small combatants?
    I beg to differ. The LCS as currently planned is suppose to be a jack of all trades. Additionally the COSTS of the LCS was to be low enough to allow procurement at reasonably high rates. Absalon in my opinion, like the author said is really the true LCS, it can operate (IMHO) across the spectrum of possible mission sets and its ability to provide supporting fires ashore is just an added plus.

  3. Solomon,
    I realize that my statement was a bit vague.

    I no longer consider the LCS a small combatant. My statement specifically refers to the option of using a much cheaper and more capable Absalon in littoral situations that would currently require an LPD-17 or one of the older LPDs/LSDs in order to effectively deploy Helicopter, UAV and small surface vessels necessary for sea control in the littoral environment.

    The Absalon certainly does the job of the LCS better than the LCS has proven itself capable of doing to date. It is is better equipped to serve in the role that the LCS has evolved into.

    I still feel that a Littoral Combat Ship should be a small, (relatively) cheap PC/Corvette type vessel. It has become a littoral mothership but without the capabilities (to date) necessary for that role.

    The LPD-17 is the existing (USN) option for similar roles but is much too large to justify its use within the Littoral Squadron (a sub-unit of the Influence Squadron concept) system. The LPD-17 might have a role in a support/oversight group, perhaps, but we can't afford enough to serve as a local mothership for PC/Corvette operations.

    The Absalon can, thus, replace the capability of the LPD-17 and serve in the role of local mother/command ship. The problem is that the USN won't openly buy a foreign design and any Absalon-like vessel would probably be built by the same problematic program managers who screwed up the LCS.


Thankyou for taking the time to comment, I endeavour to reply to every comment that I can within the constraints of time