Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The "Evolving" Littoral Combat Ship Saga

A very special, stealthy LCS
Torn from the pages of the Aviation Week NavWeek blog "Return Of LCS Past" with this delightful

look at a GAO report on the "evolving" LCS saga - and what seems to amount to "reverse capability creep":
Particularly galling to some in Congress is the report’s Table 5 – “Evolution of Navy Statements About Littoral Combat Ship Capability,” which chronicles the changing narrative of the ship’s concepts and capabilities.

What the table shows, Congressional sources say, is how the Navy has changed its tune throughout the program – so much so, that it may be difficult to trust what service officials have to say now, especially in light of some of the unknowns highlighted in the other tables detailing potential factors that could affect LCS costs and operations.

Here’s the gist of the GAO report Table 5:

My version of the LCS with the amazing "jaws of death." Very scary.
Part of the much cheaper Iranian LCB force*
Concept: LCS’s capability against adversaries

Early (2004-2008): Primarily developed for use in major combat operations. Will gain initial entry and provide assured access—or ability to enter contested spaces—and be employable and sustainable throughout the battlespace regardless of anti-access or area-denial environments.

Current (2011-2012): Current LCS weapon systems are under-performing and offer little chance of survival in a combat scenario. Not to be employed outside a benign, low-threat environment unless escorted by a multi-mission combatant providing credible anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine protection.

Concept: How LCS will deploy

Early (2004-2008): Will be a self-sufficient combatant.

Current (2011-2012): Lacks the ability to operate independently in combat. Will have to be well protected by multi-mission combatants. Multiple LCSs will likely have to operate in a coordinated strike attack group fashion for mutual support.

Concept: How mission packages swaps will be utilized

Early (2004-2008): Mission packages will be quickly swapped out in an expeditionary theater in a matter of days.

Current (2011-2012): Though a mission package can be swapped within 72 hours if all the equipment and personnel are in theater, swapping out mission packages overseas presents manning and potentially expensive logistical challenges. An LCS executing a package swap could be unavailable for between 12-29 days, and it may take 30-60 days or more for equipment and personnel to arrive in theater.
Somebody has some 'splaining to do.

*LCB? Littoral Combat Boat, of course.


  1. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Indeed. LCS delende est. Best to all/
    Grandpa Bluewater.

  2. Anonymous7:27 PM

    The presence of the word 'combat' as part of the LCS name is an oxymoron.

  3. So why haven't the LCS been canceled

  4. Comment from Shadow rescued from a fat-fingered accidental deletion:

    Too much association with too many senior people, plus in spreading the subcontracting so wide, to build support in congress, it prevented downselection to one design, let alone cancellation.