Posted by: arbeam | March 18, 2013

U.S. Navy Weighs Halving LCS Order

SAN DIEGO (May 2, 2012) The first of class littoral combat ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), left, and USS Independence (LCS 2), maneuver together during an exercise off the coast of Southern California.

SAN DIEGO (May 2, 2012) The first of class littoral combat ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), left, and USS Independence (LCS 2), maneuver together during an exercise off the coast of Southern California.

WASHINGTON — Whatever the future holds for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, it’s becoming less likely the service will continue to buy both variants after 2015.

The successor may either be the Freedom-class or Independence-class designs now being built, an up-gunned, multimission variant of the current ships, or a completely different type of ship, according to senior Navy officials familiar with high-level thinking. The up-gunned, multimission variant would perhaps be similar to the “international” versions that both builders have developed to entice foreign customers.

A recommended re-evaluation of the next flights of LCSs — beyond the 24 ships now delivered, under construction, on order or with contract options — is only part of a classified memo, “Vision for the 2025 Surface Fleet,” submitted late last year by the head of Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert. The Navy’s current plans call for building 52 littoral combat ships, so if the service opted to go in a different direction it would essentially cut the LCS program of record in half.

Full Defense News article

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