LCS Program - 2007 GAO Review
In March 2007 the Government Accountability Office reviewed 64 defense system programs, including the LCS. In the report it was noted that seven of the technologies under development were used in multiple applications or mission packages. Since these technologies were used on different platforms or environments, the program office chose to assess them in each setting separately, resulting in a total of 36 critical technologies, 22 of which were considered mature.
Delivery of the first mine warfare mission package would align with delivery of the first ship in June 2007. Of the 16 technologies used for mine warfare, only the Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep system (OASIS), remains immature. Tests to demonstrate this technology in a relevant environment were scheduled for the first quarter of FY07. Five other technologies were close to full maturity, while 10 others were fully mature.
The first antisubmarine and surface warfare packages would align with delivery of the second LCS in FY08. Of the 13 technologies dedicated to antisubmarine warfare, 3 remain in development, including the advanced deployable system and two subsystems for the antisubmarine variant of the remote mine-hunting vehicle. While the program expected to demonstrate the two subsystems in a relevant environment in late FY07, plans to mature advanced deployable system were unclear. An additional 4 technologies were near full maturity, while the remaining 6 were fully mature. Of the 7 technologies dedicated to surface warfare, the non-line-of-sight missile system was the only one not fully mature. It was expected to be demonstrated in a relevant environment in mid-FY07. Between the previous GAO and March 2007 report, the unmanned surface vehicle was removed from the surface warfare mission, although it was still to used in other missions.
The majority of ship-specific technologies were considered mature or close to full maturity. The Lockheed Martin design, the first to enter production, had 9 of 10 technologies mature or close to full maturity, only a system used to launch and retrieve small boats was not mature. The General Dynamics design currently had all of its technologies mature or close to full maturity. The program has reduced the number of critical technologies monitored to conform with DoD's definition of a critical technology, a new or novel technology used to meet key requirements. Although not designated as critical, these technologies remained in the ships' design.
According to the GAO, costs for constructing Flight 0 ships had grown due to development of a formal cost estimate, incorporation of lessons learned in construction of the first ships, and the congressionally mandated addition of requirements for force protection and survivability.
In reponse to the GAO report, the Navy stated that the LCS modular open system architecture strategy decouples core seaframe design and construction from the phased delivery of focused mission package payloads. A robust risk management process tracks technologies under development to ensure they are matured and fulfill program requirements according to planned deployment timelines. The Navy continued to apply all available management tools to optimize unit cost and schedule through the challenges of first of class construction.