A pair of complementary pieces on the state of construction of U.S. naval surface combatants:
The Navy Is Looking for a New Frigate to Replace the Troubled Littoral Combat Ship
Why Do We Keep Building LCS?
(Hint– the LCS figures prominently in both.)
The first paragraph from the first article, regarding the prospective new frigate, lays it out:
The U.S. Navy has solicited industry for a new frigate design, reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with the troubled, frigate-sized Littoral Combat Ships. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) fell victim to a combination of technological overreach and a changing geopolitical environment that made the ships minimally capable, unreliable, and obsolete in a world of variable global threats. In its place, the Navy wants a more traditional guided-missile frigate design capable of tackling larger, more complex roles.*
The article is ostensibly about a new frigate class, but it spends a lot of virtual ink on some significant and well-founded criticism of the LCS.
The second article, by good old CDR Sal, reveals the one, sole, rational reason to keep the LCS, if only on a slow-roll: “The industrial base.” I believe him when he makes the case, but isn’t that a damning statement about the once-great American shipbuilding industry? How far we have fallen.
And don’t get me started on the amphibs, and the lost decade of money and effort poured into the LCS that could and should have gone elsewhere.
America needs her Navy, and it needs to be built here.
* One historical comment here– the difference between “technological overreach” and something like, say, “revolutionary design” is of course how well it works. It’s worth noting that Josiah Humphrey’s design for the original frigate class of the Navy was thoroughly revolutionary, not least because it came from a man who had never been to sea and never fired a shot in anger. Still, it’s sad to see that the U.S. Navy– the United States Navy– can’t manage an effective building program for the most useful class of surface combatants.