Sunday, April 10, 2016

Navy May Pick One Type of Littoral Combat Ship Earlier Than Planned

The U.S. Navy is moving forward with plans to reduce its littoral combat ship buy by 12 ships, and a down-select to just one variant may happen ahead of schedule, the top brass told a Senate panel Wednesday.
In written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition Sean Stackley said the selection to a single shipbuilder, scheduled for fiscal 2019, could happen as early as fiscal 2018, depending on the proposed design for the future frigate and modifications to the LCS block-buy.
The revised timeframe, they said, could also accelerate delivery of the frigate, which will include LCS upgrades to enhances its survivability and equip it with over-the-horizon surface-to-surface missiles. Currently, contracting for the future frigate is expected to begin in 2019.
The Navy was ordered to reduce its LCS buy in December by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who sent a memo chiding the service for overinvesting in the small surface combatants at the expense of weapons and aircraft. The president’s fiscal 2017 budget submission was designed around plans to purchase just 40 LCS/frigates as Carter had directed, rather than the 52 the Navy had originally expected to buy.
The Navy is now estimating to spend almost $30 billion -- $28.9 billion -- to buy 40 of the vessels, down from a previously planned quantity of 55 ships, according to recently released budget documents. more