Navy Secretary Singles Out Littoral Combat Ship As "One Of Our Very Best Programs"

April 26, 2013

A dozen years ago, the U.S. Navy announced plans for three new classes of surface warships -- a land-attack destroyer, a missile-defense cruiser, and a fast coastal combatant that could replace frigates in shallow-water operations. The destroyer and cruiser ended up being terminated due to budget constraints. In an unusual twist, though, the most revolutionary new warship announced in 2001 lives on, and gradually seems to be winning acceptance in a military service known for its fidelity to tradition.

That vessel is the Littoral Combat Ship, and in truth it is really two vessels sharing similar missions and design features. The basic idea behind the LCS program was to stop the seemingly inexorable increase in costs for each new class of surface combatants by developing a warship that could be versatile without constantly carrying around every conceivable piece of equipment. The Navy's answer was warfighting modules that could be loaded on or taken off depending on the missions a given ship was being deployed to execute. So there are anti-surface warfare modules, anti-submarine warfare modules, and anti-mine warfare modules -- but each ship doesn't have to carry each type of module all the time. Other types of warfighting modules are planned.

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