Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has told the Navy in no uncertain terms that he wants a second opinion on the controversial Littoral Combat Ship. Perhaps that’s why the newly formed “Small Surface Combatant Task Force” won’t be led by a sailor or even a Navy civilian. Instead, the “SSCTF” chairman will be Marine Corps Systems Command director John D. Burrow, according to a memo the Navy released today.Any bets?
The Small Surface Combatant Task Force’s charter is to look at a range of alternatives, from all-new designs to existing ships. Both Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert have repeatedly emphasized the fact that Hagel has by no means taken LCS off the table. To the contrary, both Hagel’s memo and this new one specifically mention the option of “modified LCS design.”
In fact, given the time and cost required to develop an all-new ship, a souped-up LCS may be the only practical option. The only other near-term options seem to be a military variant of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter or a foreign frigate, which even if license-built in the US would raise all sorts of patriotic hackles on Capitol Hill.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Breaking Defense has the tale of a Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Panel :