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Total Program Objectives

On 13 December 2015 Defense Secretary Ashton Carter approved cutting the US Navys Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program to a maximum of 40 vessels and using the money saved to build more F/A-18 Super Hornet jets. The secretary of defense directed the service to cap its buy at 40 ships and pick only one supplier. The directive also ordered the Navy to buy only one ship annually over the next four years, down from three per year. Carter sent a memo on 13 December 2015 to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to use savings from the LCS program cuts to buy more F/A-18 Super-Hornet and F-35 Lightning II aircraft, more SM-6 surface-to-air missiles as well as boost spending on the Virginia-class nuclear submarine.

In the Navy's FY06 plan, the 30-year force structure profile for 260 and 325 ships proposed building 63 and 82 LCS, respectively, covering the period from FY06 to FY36.

The Navy had discussed up to 60 ships, roughly up to $12 billion. Flight 0 would consist of at least twelve or possibly thirteen ships. A Lockheed-Martin Industry Team and a General Dynamics Industry team were each to initially build two ships with follow-on deliveries pending final acquisition strategy for the LCS program. As of mid-2006 the Navy wanted to procure 7 DDG-1000s, 19 CG(X)s, and 55 LCSs.

As of mid-2006 the Navy's current plans called for a total of 55 of the agile, high-speed LCS ships to be built for the Navy's surface fleet. Each ship would be capable of carrying any one of the mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare or surface mission packages at a given time. In its shipbuilding plan delivered to Congress in February 2007, the Navy outlined plans to procure a total of 23 LCS between FY07 and FY11 at a cost of $6.8 billion and a total of 51 from FY07 to FY16 at an average cost of $270 million. By FY18, the Navy expected to reach a total of 55 LCS.

By early 2006 costs for the Littoral Combat Ship had increased by as much as 29 percent for the first ship and as much as 33 percent for follow-on ships that were intended to be procured in FY09 to FY11. Sea frame procurement costs in the service's FY07 budget had increased from those shown in the FY06 budget. The estimate for the first LCS increased from $212.5 million to $274.5 million, an increase of about 29 percent. The estimate for the second LCS increased from $256.5 million to $278.1 million, an increase of about 8 percent.

Flight 0 would consist of at least twelve or possibly thirteen ships, up from the initial plan of four. A Lockheed-Martin Industry Team and a General Dynamics Industry team would each initially build two ships with follow-on deliveries pending final acquisition strategy for the LCS program. The LCS working in concert with the rest of the fleet, was expected to bring substantially increased capability to the fleet in assuring access to the littorals ands in executing the Navy's Strategy. While designed for three littoral focused missions: anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare and surface warfare, its high speed, open combat system architecture, mission bay and large flight deck provide the capability to support a number of other emergent missions. Moreover, its reduced crew size, modular interchangeable focused mission payloads and revolutionary acquisition process lay the groundwork for the future of naval surface combatants.

The defense budget proposal for 2015 cut the littoral combat ship (LCS) procurement from a planned 55 to 32 ships. The FY2015 budget request includes money to look at options for a future small surface combatant. Whether it's a frigate or an up-gunned LCS remains to be seen, but the Navy would re-look at would be done with additional ships beyond the 32 LCS that would be built.

The Department of Defense reduced the purchase of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) due to "frequent critical system failures" and being "unsurvivable" in combat. Policy changes were announced in January 2014 by Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox after the Pentagon received its final fiscal year 2015 budget guidance from the White House. The Navy was initially supposed to purchase 52 LCSs, but due to technical problems and budget cuts the fleet would now receive only 32 warships. Three of them were already in use, and the fourth was due to commission in April 2014. An additional 20 were under construction or on order with the two contractors, Lockheed Martin and Austal USA.




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