Sea Control 124 – In Defense of the Littoral Combat Ship

By Sally DeBoer

Few platforms have introduced the degree of controversy that has resulted from the introduction of and growing pains associated with the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). From online message boards to the less-than-enthusiastic 72 page Government Accountability Office report on the program, one doesn’t need to search far to find exasperated and at times vitriolic criticism of the program. Though LCS, like any program, is not without its flaws and growing pains, this episode of Sea Control explores the positive aspects of the program and possible applications to tomorrow’s conflicts against the United States’ proto-peer competitors.

Host and CIMSEC President Sally DeBoer discusses LCS with two military historians, Mike, and retired Navy Commander and Ph.D. candidate Mr. Steve Wills. CDR Wills is a retired Surface Warfare Officer who has written extensively on LCS and other naval issues for CIMSEC and other outlets.

DOWNLOAD: Sea Control 124 – “In Defense of LCS”

Sally DeBoer is the President of CIMSEC for 2016-2017. The views of the guests are their’s alone and do not represent the stance of any U.S. government department or agency. 

Featured Image: PACIFIC OCEAN (April 23, 2014) The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are underway in the Pacific Ocean (Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith DeVinney/US Navy)

4 thoughts on “Sea Control 124 – In Defense of the Littoral Combat Ship”

  1. LCS was never envisioned to replace FFG 7. Historical fact. So using FFG 7 as a strawman by either side of the issue is nonsense.

    1. Not a fact. Read Bob Work’s 2013 LCS program history. LCS was intended as a replacement for the post-2003, missile-less Perry.

  2. LCS was a replacement for the FFG-7, the MCM, and the PCs. I agree about the (effective) removal of the “G” in FFG-7 and that the “G” was replaced by more DDGs with much greater capability.

    As one of those baby boomers or old Gen Xs (I sometimes get grouped in both categories), I remember when the CG-47s and the FFG-7s were a 2:1 cost issues. The CG-47 was twice the cost to produce, maintain, and man as the FFG-7 giving the Navy a choice between 1 CG-47/52 or 2 FFG-7s. Today, there is a 3:1 cost ratio between DDG-51st Flight IIIAs and LCS.

    I appreciated the spirited defense of the LCS. I have defended the platform in many ways.

    The only issue I have had with the LCS is its speed. You tried to explain the virtues of the speed, but it is not going to be doing ASW or MCM at 45 kts or even 20 kts. To give give it 45 kts means 2-3 times the machinery of 28-30 kts. That takes space/weight and makes it harder to what it needs to do. The need for 45 kts–despite the glowing comments about that–creates more problems in terms of what the ship can carry than it is worth.

  3. Anti pirating, anti smuggling, search and rescue, disaster response, and reaction to hot spot volatility all require speed. Having a versatile high speed platform is a good idea in today’s world.

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