Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems won a $15.6 million contract modification
for the implementation of configuration management changes on select Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). The LCS
new construction contract provides for the design, construction, integration, and testing of the Littoral Combat Ship, which operates with focused-mission packages that deploy manned and unmanned vehicles to execute a variety of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and mine countermeasures. Work will take place in Marinette, Wisconsin. Estimated completion will be by May 2022.
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.