Littoral Combat Ships Reduced to 40 Hulls

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Jackson Robertson
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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has ordered the Navy to cut the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program down from 52 hulls to 40. He has also told the Navy to select one ship builder for the program, choosing between the Independence and Freedom variants and their respective manufactures. Further details show the new plan requires the Navy to drop from purchasing three LCS are year to one, by 2019.

Many officials and defense analysts are not a fan of the LCS, mainly due to their light armament and protection, so the Navy started to build more robust and heavily armed LCS with the designation as Frigate (FF), these ships will also be included in the cut. Although Ash Carter has said that the reduction of LCS and FF will be replaced by higher-end ships with more capabilities, like the Flight III Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Some of the money saved from the reduction will also be used to buy more F-35’s.

“This plan reduces, somewhat, the number of Littoral Combat Ships available for presence operations, but that need will be met by higher-end ships, and it will ensure that the warfighting forces in our submarine, surface, and aviation fleets have the necessary capabilities and posture to defeat even our most advanced potential adversaries. Forty LCS/FF will exceed recent historical presence levels and will provide a far more modern and capable ship than the patrol coastals, minesweepers, and frigates that they will replace.”

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 25, 2014) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) makes a turn while underway in the pacific Ocean. Fort Worth is providing a sea-going platform for a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from the U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade to conduct deck landing qualifications off the coast of Hawaii. Fort Worth departed is on a 16-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 25, 2014) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) makes a turn while underway in the pacific Ocean. Fort Worth is providing a sea-going platform for a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from the U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade to conduct deck landing qualifications off the coast of Hawaii. Fort Worth departed is on a 16-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos/Released)

While I am happy the funds for these cut hulls will be reallocated properly, I still believe there is a niche to fill. A contender would be A shortened version of Danish Royal Navies Iver Huitfeldt class frigate. Currently the U.S. Navy has a requirement to field 308 ships, the reduction of the Littoral Combat Ship will not encroach on that requirement.

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