Navy Ordered to Drop LCS Fleet by 20 Ships

Navy Ordered to Drop LCS Fleet by 20 Ships

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has instructed the Navy to reduce its planned buy of the new Littoral Combat Ship from 52 to 32 ships, substantially limiting the size and scope of the emerging multi-mission, shallow-water ship program, according to reports.

Defense News cites a Jan. 6 memo from Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox account announcing the decision pointing to budget guidance from the White House on some large acquisition decisions.

Pentagon and Navy officials would not comment on the memo or the acquisition decision regarding LCS fleet size, citing budget deliberations as pre-decisional.

“We continue to work with OSD (office of the Secretary of Defense) on all our ship acquisitions,” a Navy official told Military​.com.

However, the LCS program has long been the center of controversy and disagreement within the Navy as well as analysts and lawmakers.  An internal Navy report released last year questioned the ship’s ability to perform its mission, and a number of lawmakers and analysts have raised questions wondering if the platform can survive in combat.

The $37 billion LCS program, in development since 2002, is a next-generation surface-ship aimed at delivering a fast, agile, littoral vessel equipped with technologically advanced mission packages engineered for surface warfare, anti-submarine and mine-countermeasure missions, among others.

Overall, the Navy had planned to acquire as many as 52 LCS vessels. In total, this high ship number will comprise a large percentage of the Navy’s overall surface fleet.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom and Independence — designed and built by two industry teams, respectively led by Lockheed Martin and an Austal USA-led team. Contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin and Austal USA on December 29, 2010, for the construction of up to 10 ships each.

Navy officials and senior leaders have responded by saying the ship’s speed of 40-knots, combined with its sensors, weapons, aircraft and technology packages bring substantial advantage to the fleet and improve survivability. They also emphasize that, while survivable, the LCS is not intended to function as a destroyer or heavy warship but rather perform littoral missions.

So far, the first three LCS ships have been commissioned and the fourth, the USS Coronado, is slated for commissioning in April of this year, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Matthew Leonard said.

LCS 5 and 6 launched in December of last year, and ships 7 through 16 are in different stages of production, Leonard added. The Navy plans to wind up delivering four LCS ships per year.

“With some of these they are building portions and modules. They build pieces separately. Fabrication involves cutting steel and beginning to build larger portions which will be assembled together following the laying of the keel,” Leonard said.

Speaking at the Navy Surface Warfare Annual Symposium Jan. 15, Chief Naval Officer Adm. Jonathan Greenert praised the development of the LCS platform, saying the ships would soon be performing mission across the globe in places such as Bahrain, Singapore and the South China Sea. In fact, the Navy Pacific rebalance strategy calls for four LCS ships to be on rotational deployments through Singapore.

“They (LCS) are going to start coming at us and we have got to accept them and move along, bring that mission package capability into the fleet,” Greenert said. Greenert made no mention of the potential reduction in LCS fleet size.

The Navy’s first LCS, the USS Freedom, recently completed a 10-month long deployment which wound up resulting in operational missions in the South China Sea and disaster relief in the Philippines.

Navy officials have long maintained that this first deployment will help refine concepts of operations and tactics, techniques and procedures for the ship as well as afford an occasion to identify and correct problems with the platform. The deployment gave the Navy the opportunities to make adjustments, fixes and corrections for the remainder of the fleet.

“The deployment of Freedom provided a lot of lessons learned and it proved out several key concepts of the program and the platform,” Leonard said.

The fixes included addressing areas such as air compressors, cabling and the ship service diesel generators, officials said.


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Just continue to make us a weaker Nation and you will suffer the bad results.

Given the less-than-mediocre reviews from independent agencies (for example: the GAO, amongst others), our allies (who were initially interested, and since walked away) and the navy’s own inspector general, this is a positive development for the navy and the US taxpayer.

All these problems and fixes should have been part of the demonstration phase. We should NEVER have contracted to build a couple dozen of these high-priced pier queens before the kinks were worked out. And if we wanted to be honest, we should have subjected a test ship to a real combat (live fire demo) and see if it would have sunk or not, and how fast. Otherwise, we should get a refund from the defense contactors.

Of course, if we’re smart, we should stop procurement and just give them away to our adversaries. That would guarantee we have better ships than them!

A small concession, for a bad idea that was allowed to proceed too far. Now we need to replace the 20 canceled LCS’s with a all purpose frigate. The HII patrol frigate would be a good interim frigate until the Navy has the money to design it’s own frigate.

We’re also losing a lot of our pre-pos around Diego. We’re spreading cheeks and crossing our fingers hoping nobody slips in the backdoor. BTW, I saw the prototype of this vessel going through sea trials. Pretty impressive, and it can be operated remotely if needed. It has some bells and whistles.


after serving 20 year in the navy and the stupid mistakes of the past by dem Presidant how can the CNO allow are surface ship be less than up to par we may not need as many ships but the ones in development must be far supior to any other nations surface and sub surface fleets. But the USA needs a Commander In Chief that is not a cry baby and are millitary must never be SECOND TO NONE

Hmm, another weapon program cut just as it enters production phase. It’s almost as if defense contractors make all of their money developing weapons and then aren’t really interested in the production phase. I mean, a thinking person might notice a trend.

Your argument there wasn’t coherent. It was just a mix of sort of agreeing with the white house accountant, whilst at the same time bash the president for being a cry baby. What about this article, or this topic was the president a cry baby? I would really like to know. Do you use every forum to bash the president? I mean re-read what you wrote, I did and it seems a bit coo coo.

I think this is quite a good decision to be honest. I would cancel all the non-remaining as someone mention earlier and just build the patrol frigates myself, so I don’t think it goes far enough to right the wrong here.

If you think China is afraid of some screwy boat like that, you have another thing coming…

Is it really cancelled though? I sense creative budgeting. It was going to be some time before the initial run of 20 was even done. Then this gives them 8 more. Seems like by tye time that is done they could just turn around and say theyre going to buy more. That decision could probably be put off for 5 to 10 years. If they wouldve cancelled it at the already authorized numbers l might be less suspicious.

Great concept…that did not translate into reality…need to stop engaging in F-35 type defence contracts where contractors have essentially a blank cheque with no accountability. But defence contractors ‘own’ the politicians…



I would rather they cut the LCS to 24, split them between the MCM and patrol Boat Fleet. Ban them from sailing with the Big Navy. Start building a Multi Role Frigate out of the US Coast Guard’s National security Cutter design that can command and control the 24 LCS. As for the LCS, I would Arm them in the same fashion as the Braunschweig-class corvette,MILGEM project and the Steregushchy-class corvette.

The LCS program was started during the Bush years.

Another case of the famous sports-car/dump-truck (designed by a committee to do everything for every user, and accomplishing NONE of them well). F-35 and V-22 are others.… Modules that are not built, don’t work, don’t even have viable specifications, don’t exist, don’t have ‘mature (read usable) technologies’ are all problems of the ships along with austere manning problems propping up (maintenance, the need for paint, sanitation, ships stores, and just simple watch standing).

What the Navy needs are a few ships that can take some major hits and keep running. They currently have none that are truly combat survivable.. one god hit, maybe two and they are finished.. This type of ship will get missiled right off and down she goes…

I think you’re on the right track. I think they need ships that are heavily armed and armored, basically tanks of the sea, and I think they need some, maybe 1/3rd that are light weight and super fast. I don’t mean 35 knots fast. I mean 100+ knots fast. They should literally fly across the surface of the ocean. What we have now is a bunch of neithers. They don’t make sense. They can’t take a hit. They can’t dish one out. And they can’t get anywhere fast enough to make their cost and lack of armor worthwhile.

Littoral operation generally means the shallower areas closer to coastlines. At a draught of less than 20 feet (15? 12?) the LCS can get too uncomfortably close to shorelines, areas where RCS stealth low observability means squat when you’re within daytime eyesight of the land.
That few km distance is well within the range of a majority of even decades-old ATGM types.
Sure, many wire-guided missiles aren’t recommended for over-water use, but even a majority of AFV-mounted autocannon and direct-fire tank guns can easily target a 3000 ton ship within that distance.
And people still choose to ignore that the LCS’ do-everything SeaHawk helicopters and FireScout UAVs are NOT low-observable aircraft.

Aren’t going to operate that close to the coastline after all? Why then again the shallow draught requirement?
These are going to be the Navy’s fair-weather, beat-em-up vessels for picking on pirates and third world countries whose navies are nothing more than dhows and over-glorified fishing trawlers.
The suggestion of mine warfare and ASW is becoming little more than smoke-and-mirrors to distract enough folks away from the fact that those primary anti-piracy missions and maritime police duty ops are coast guard jobs.

Show us the mission modules work, and that a ship equipped with them won’t as-built-and-configured cost 3/4 billion dollars as such.

Those Steregs are beautifully configured ships. Talk about packing a quart of firepower into a pint-sized container.

As the LCS sits, its 57 and 30mm guns aren’t suited for much more than scaring off pirates.
And if there are currently issues with gun system inaccuracies versus surface threats (according to the last few DTO&E reports), I surely wouldn’t stake my life on Bofors/BAE’s claims at how effective the 57mm is against aircraft and even missile threats (a static test rig gun mount versus static pylon-mounted targets is NOT representative of real-life conditions)
And 57mm gunfire ain’t gonna be helping anybody already landed onshore with any major threat removal.
You need nothing less than 100mm to deal effective damage to an MBT target or other aggressive AFVs you may run across.

To label something as a “littoral combat” vessel, one first should have considered the fairly large threat envelope that littoral combat encompasses.
They staked far too much expectation on the now-failed NetFires missiles, and now are expecting still far too much of the ship’s limited aviation assets.


The LCS as it sits today seemingly ignores every hard-won lesson of littoral warfare. The 57mm gun failed miserably in Canadian testing, and the ship the 57mm gun was shooting at wasn’t even shooting back. Even a Skjold-class patrol boat uses a 75mm gun (that *was* successful in the same Canadian tests).

Claiming that LCS has an over-the-horizon attack capability because they have a helicopter would be laughable if it wasn’t our navy making such a claim. I’d personally prefer a box o’ harpoons, that might at least give a naval adversary a little bit of pause. Otherwise, they can attack the LCS with their stand-off weapons without fear of reprisal (unless it is protected by a Burke, etc.).

First of all, this corporate welfare program is churning out $400M sea-frames that are only built to the navy’s level-1 standard (hint — fleet oilers — non combatants — are built to the level 2 standard). Level 1, is only marginally better than commercial grade.

Next, the LCS program started under the administration of George W Bush, who according to our allies, the world press, and the National Intelligence Estimates (the combined opinion of all 16 US intelligence agencies) caused the worst string of national security and foreign policy disasters in history (let alone, garnering 90% of the blame in conjunction with the GOP “managed” houses of representatives for causing the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression).

The DoD, even under sequestration, still outspends the next largest 10 nations militaries on the planet by a wide margin. See the part about the economic disaster this nation is still suffering from.

So you can now stop whining.


The with the concept of a downselect in place. In 2010 that did not happen.

Most pirates don’t use radar. A speedboat with an RPV will take the LCS out. Two will sink it. Plus why are we deploying these ships to places like Singapore, a country wilth brand new, frigates! They have enough money now to pay for a decent navy and defend themselves–and they are. Time for us to let them pick up some of the responsibility. Oh, that’s right! They’re doing big business with the Chinese “enemies,” the same country supplying parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter!

With the anti-air and anti-missile (at least, in theory) capabilities of the latest ESSM iterations, one of those Patrol Frigates (discussed ad infinitum in a previous thread) can, with modern lighterweight planar “SPY Junior” AESA, newer electro optics, and the performance capable of modern “ship-tronics” vs the 1st Ticos’ Aegis system, a PF can more than surpass every aspect of a Perry class, even better than Australia’s expensive Adelaide upgrade.
There’s no tech in any currently configured pre-production Mission Module or proposed, that CANNOT be a permanent compont if properly engineered into a Patrol Frigate.
And judging by the success of the G-MLRS in land use, there’s still more than enough reason to bring back the POLAR concept of a ship-launched MLRS derivative.

We don’t need a Patrol Frigate to be a “Burke Junior” along the lines of the Spanish F100s, but I fear that once US developers are done engineering it, it’ll be a subpar F100 with a Burke pricetag.


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