The US Navy's 13th Littoral Combat Ship is receiving its last finishing touches. Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a $16 million cost-plus-award-fee order
in support of the USS Wichita. The contract provides for engineering and management services during the ship's post shakedown availability (PSA). The company will provide the Navy with 65.000 man-hours of work and is responsible for work specification, pre-fabrication and material procurement. The USS Wichita
is a Freedom-class LCS, designed to conduct anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. The PSA is assigned to newly built, activated or converted ships upon completion of a shakedown cruise. Work performed is focused on correcting defects noted during the shakedown cruise and those remaining from Acceptance Trails. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Maryland; New York and Marinette, Wisconsin. The PSA is expected to be completed by February 2020.
Exploit simplicity, numbers, the pace of technology development in electronics and robotics, and fast reconfiguration. That was the US Navy’s idea for the low-end backbone of its future surface combatant fleet. Inspired by successful experiments like Denmark’s Standard Flex ships, the US Navy’s $35+ billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program was intended to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that could operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes.
It hasn’t worked that way. In practice, the Navy hasn’t been able to reconcile what they wanted with the capabilities needed to perform primary naval missions, or with what could be delivered for the sums available. The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with both competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. Now, the program looks set to end early. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.