By: Andre Francisco
Top decision-makers in the Pentagon support reducing the total purchase of the Littoral Combat Ship to only 24 ships, down from 52, according to Defense News.
The story lists unnamed sources in the office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) as supporting the cut as part of the preparation for the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2015 budget. The sources said the Navy is countering the proposal and “strongly advocates going no lower than 32 ships—a number that would continue production another one or two years.”
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is the Navy’s newest ship and is designed to operate close to shore with a limited crew and be able to easily change missions from mine detection to anti-drug operations and other tasks. The design of the ship was supposed to be awarded after a contest between Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, but in the end the Navy decided to buy both designs.
Since then, the LCS has been plagued by problems. In 2012, the Project On Government Oversight released documents showing significant problems in Lockheed Martin’s varient of the LCS, including cracks, rust, and repeated engine-related failures. The documents sparked an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that mandated a report by the Government Accountability Office into the problems with the LCS. The ship has also faced budget problems and unflattering comparisons to similar ships.
So far the Navy has four LCS ships and contracts out to build another 20. If the OSD gets its way, that would put an end to procurement of the problem-ridden LCS.