The US Navy’s LCS: The ship that won’t sink

(From the National Interest)

By Dan Goure

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is like the cat with nine lives. It has survived more near-death experiences than just about any other Navy program in modern times. First there was the problem with trying to build a military vessel based on commercial standards. When Navy shipbuilding rules were applied, big surprise, the cost per hull went way up and LCS no longer looked like a bargain.  Then there were seemingly endless problems with the mission modules intended to allow the ships to perform multiple missions serially by simply swapping out payloads. The acquisition strategy was certainly unusual. The Navy made the bold decision, widely criticized at the time and even today, to acquire two variants. Then there was Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s decision to truncate the program at 40 ships vice the planned 52. Most recently, the Chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, blasted the Navy and the Program Office for continuing problems with the reliability of an unmanned undersea vehicle that was part of the mine countermeasures mission package. Read more



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