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GAO: LCS Package Cost Likely to Increase

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scientists and engineers recover a deployed Remote Minehunting System (RMS) during developmental testing of the Littoral Combat Ship's mine warfare mission module package on Jan. 7, 2012. US Navy Photo

scientists and engineers recover a deployed Remote Minehunting System (RMS) during developmental testing of the Littoral Combat Ship’s mine warfare mission module package on Jan. 7, 2012. US Navy Photo

The way the U.S. Navy is buying the mission modules planned for the Littoral Combat Ship could lead to cost increases, according to a Government Accountability Office report released on Thursday.

“The Navy continues to buy systems that are still in development, demonstrating significant performance issues, and not meeting all requirements—a practice that we have previously shown increases costs,” read the report.

The so-called “concurrent acquisition strategy,” has so far delivered three Mine Countermeasures (MCM), four Surface Warfare (SUW) and no Antisubmarine Warfare modules for testing.

According to the GAO, the program is estimated to cost a total of $3.58 billion from the start in Fiscal Year 2004 to Fiscal Year 2017 for an estimated 65 modules for use on either class of the LCS.

However, the first mission modules for the Littoral Combat Ship are not expected to reach full operational capability until 2018, 14 years after start of the LCS program, read the report.

“According to the Navy, the critical technologies in these modules are mature,” read the report. “However, several systems continue to experience performance issues and the Navy has yet to fully integrate these technologies and test them on board an LCS in a realistic environment.

USS Independence (LCS-2) is currently testing the MCM module and USS Freedom (LCS-1).

The MCM package has suffered reliability problems with its remote mine-hunting vehicle and laser mine detection systems. The package expects to be fully mission capable by 2018.

The Navy is testing a prototype surface-to-surface missile system with the SUW package.