LCS-1 Launched Amidst Budget Squabbles, Congressional Study
On September 23, 2006, the US Navy christened and launched LCS 1 Freedom, the nation’s first Flight 0 littoral combat ship, at the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. The ship will continue to undergo outfitting and testing at Marinette Marine; it will be commissioned in 2007 and eventually homeported in San Diego, CA. The ship’s sponsor is Birgit Smith, wife of the late Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith.
The launch comes at an appropriate time for the program, as the Navy’s proposed FY 2007 budget requests $521 million to buy 2 Littoral Combat Ships. The House-reported version of the FY2007 defense appropriations bill (H.R. 5631) recommends approval, but the Senate’s reported version recommends a 2-ship cut by funding just one LCS in FY 2007, plus rescinding funding for one of the 3 LCS ships procured in FY 2006. In the background, the US Congressional Research Service released its updated report on July 26, 2006: “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS): Background and Issues for Congress.”
DID has updated our LCS Focus Article to include all of this information. Team Lockheed’s design is still competing wth a General Dynamics/Austal-led space-enhancing trimaran design for the final LCS Flight 1 production award, and may also be bought by the Israeli Navy as an independent transaction.