Home » Education Legislation » Senators Limited Littoral Combat Ship Program to 1 Hull in 2018 After ‘Compelling’ Testimony by Acting SECNAV Stackley

Senators Limited Littoral Combat Ship Program to 1 Hull in 2018 After ‘Compelling’ Testimony by Acting SECNAV Stackley

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) is underway in formation with ships from the Royal Thai Navy as part of a division tactics exercise during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand on June 3, 2017. US Navy photo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Testimony in which acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley said a single Littoral Combat Ship in 2018 was the minimum needed to preserve the two shipyards was taken to heart in crafting the Senate Armed Services Committee’s defense bill that held to one LCS, SASC staffers on Thursday.

In May testimony before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, Stackley said the single LCS initially included in the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2018 budget request “only meets the minimum sustainment,” compared to the optimal production rate of three a year across the two years, USNI News reported at the time.

SASC took that testimony and kept the program at a single ship, the staffers said.

“We authorized the LCS that was in the budget request. We support the president’s budget in that regard. The testimony from Secretary Stackley before the SAC-D that one was the minimum in ’18 to sustain the industrial base was taken into account. …
We found that testimony compelling,” a staffer told reporters on Thursday.
“There’s one LCS in ’18, which the secretary said in SAC-D testimony was the minimum.”

While the administration had initially put only a single LCS in the budget submitted to Congress, the next day the White House shifted course and asked acting Navy acquisition chief Allison Stiller to say the administration was supportive of two in the budget.

Both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee support three LCS hulls in the FY 2018 budget.

The move from the Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)-chaired SASC comes as little surprise. He has been as constant a critic of the LCS program, as the Navy has seen in the last several years. Last year McCain pointed out $13 billion in what he deemed was wasteful spending in the federal government in his “America’s Most Wasted” report, and the LCS program counted for $12.4 billion of the $13 billion total.

While the SASC language is cool on LCS, staffers said they would welcome a full and open competition for the follow-on frigate design that will look at hulls beyond the current Lockheed Martin-built Freedom-class and Austal USA-built Independence-class designs.

USS Detroit (LCS-7) arrives at new home port at Naval Station Mayport after completing maiden voyage from Detroit on Nov. 23, 2016. US Navy Photo

“We’re supportive of the timing,” a staffer told reporters.
“We’re supportive of free and open competition using existing designs.”

The Navy will look at both domestic and foreign designs as it seeks a frigate more capable than today’s LCSs.

“The Navy Frigate Requirements Evaluation Team (FFG RET) will update the SSCTF analyses to investigate the feasibility of incorporating additional capabilities such as local air defense and enhanced survivability features into the current LCS designs, as well as explore other existing hull forms,” the Navy told USNI News in April.

Some in the Senate have pushed for the Navy to consider foreign frigate designs that have a more robust air defense capability than the current LCS Flight 0 designs.

At least one of the three fleet architecture studies recently released by the Navy that will guide the service in the future called for a more robust air defense frigate that would incorporate Mk-41 vertical launch cells that would make the follow-on design much more lethal to traditional air and cruise missile threats.

  • NavySubNuke

    Thank God – the sooner we stop wasting money on this program the better.

    • Rob C.

      Only problem now is now it’s going take a decade to design a new one if it’s not existing design.
      That’s always been the bane of this. Also political decisions end up being over turn whenever there election. Good design or bad.
      I just hope the new Frigate will have something better than what is fielded already and isn’t compromised by politics and over-enthuastic budget slashing. People running these ships deserve to be able fight have vessel that is able to do it’s job and have reasonable chance to defend it’self or least do it’s bloody job.
      LCS were always incomplete component to what was suppose to be chain of family of ships doing different jobs. Both Classes were doing their job (regardless if undergunned or not. it wasn’t suppose to be frontline combatant to begin with.) but not as well until the budget and technical difficulties got in the way.
      My worry about this go back the drawing board problem is this will be never ending cycle of design/not-enough-money/crappy design/pre-production/it’s-crappy design-redesign it/ all over again.
      This is why we still have a 30 year old plus DDG-51 as base line for the large combatants! Nothing new can’t be made without some sort of internal SNUF happening.

      • D.J. Locker

        So make a floating F35 to burble around shallow waters. Littoral Combat Fighter variant.

        It should only cost a few more years and couple hundred million. Lockmart is ready to help. Not for the good of corporate bonuses, but because Lockmart cares.

    • Angie Nathan


    • Angie Nathan

      …and start prosecuting (we all have dreams)

  • Kenneth Johnson

    Are the hulls made out of aluminum or steel.

    • Michael Ryan

      Depends on the variant. Predominately aluminum hulled for your even numbers.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Based on their record to date they are made from an alloy of papier máche & cotton wool.

  • Michael Ryan

    Pesky picture captions. Lol

  • Jffourquet

    LSC 1 was commissioned 8 years ago, and mission module delepoment is still is in progress. The LSC was intended for 25 years of service. By the time the modules are completely developed we will be retiring the early LCS ships. Just end the program now and use the existing ships to chase drug smuglers w/ a USCG boarding crew attacked to each ship.

    • Angie Nathan

      I wonder if all the media attention about Russia is just a ploy to prevent a real investigation over a very real LCS program that has filled a ditch for miles with its twisted wreckage?

      • Secundius

        Good Luck with that?/! They haven’t even Completed the Flight “0’s” yet, with 29 more to go. And already Funded the Flight “I’s” slated to begin Construction some time in 2020…

      • Duane

        Putin is proud of your comment.

    • Duane

      Thank you Comrade … Maximum Leader Putin must be very proud of his army of trolls that infest our national defense websites to disparage every weapons system that his pathetic military cannot defend against in a real shooting war. Hence the theatrics of the troll wars.

  • D.J. Locker

    The only thing McCain has been right about in his entire career.

    86 the LCS.

  • Paul 2

    Quote “Some in the Senate have pushed for the Navy to consider foreign frigate designs that have a more robust air defense capability than the current LCS Flight 0 designs.”

    I want to Google these foreign designs. Can someone tell me some design names to lookup?

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      For some large frigates read on:
      – FREMM (In use by France and Italy)
      – Type 26 from the UK
      – Fridtjof Nansen from Norway
      Going smaller, look at the “Valour” class. Built in Germany for the South African & Algerian navies….. a quite impressive ship.

    • Secundius

      BOTH “Lockheed-Martin” and “Astral-USA” Frigate Designs are 1/3rd Larger designs of their current LCS “Freedom” and “Independence” classes. And Huntington-Ingalls is finalizing on One of Three “Possible” Frigate types based on the USCG’s “Legend” class NSC…

  • Secundius

    “Window Dressing”!/? All it means is the Current 115th US Congress IS only going to Fund ONE “LCS” class in 2018. It doesn’t mention ANYTHING about the LCS class that were Initially Funded in 2004 by the 109th US Congress. The LCS was to be built over a 20-year period. To date ONLY Four “Freedom” classes and Five “Independence” classes have been Constructed and are in Service. That STILL leaves Seventeen LCS classes that Haven’t been built under the 2004 Funding of the classes…

    • Duane

      The Congress is going to fund 3 LCS in 2018 .. McCain is simply wielding his tiny powers to command the Senate committee staff. This is just kabuki theater of the absurd, posturing and pretending.

      • Secundius

        You also ADD Mo Brooks-R, Terri Swell-D, Martha Roby-R, Gary Palmer-R, Bradly Burne-R, Robert Aderholt-R, Michal Rogers-R and Richard-Shelby-D from Alabama and Paul Ryan-R, Mike Gallagher-R, Sean Duffy-R, Mark Pocan-D, Jim Sensenbrenner-R, Gwen Moore-D, Ron Kind-D, Glenn Gorthman-R, Ron Johnson-R, and Tammy Baldwin-D from Wisconsin to YOUR “Bucket List”. Austral-USA is located in Alabama and Lockheed Martin is located in Wisconsin.

        Not to mention ALL the Parts, Electrical, Electronics, Weaponry, etc Sub-Contractors that Supply the “Widget’s” that goes into Building THOSE Ships. And the US Congressmen and US Senators that Represent THEM…

  • Angie Nathan

    In like a lion and out with barley a whimper. Yet the media coverage of this program by and large has been unable to find fault.
    Anyone care to at least turn on the tivoli lights? The public is sitting in the dark and we were promised these glorious ships for our fighting force. I understand the projection room can experience technical difficulties but I for one want to see how this movie ends. Or did someone pull the plug in order to avoid rolling the credits?
    The last LCS scene was Lucy and Ethel in the kitchen trying to bake bread. Ricky was providing cover splaining that the first loaves are always the worst and the following batch was going to turn out, but right before they were going to open the oven door…………everything went dark and silent.
    We have congress fighting each other tooth and nail over pennies in comparison on social programs to the point that they are unable to pass significant legislation, while these ongoing financial black holes (real disasters) are dragging our nation to the brink.
    I say we turn on more than the tivoli lights, I say we throw the big switches on the panel so the cleaning crew can come in and take care of some Swamp Critters (Swamp Critters is a description I borrowed from Michelle Malkin and it is my new favorite).

  • Lazarus

    The reason the SASC wanted only one LCS is because the SASC chairman does not like LCS and would fund zero if he had his way. It has nothing to do with SECNAV’s testimony. McCain is just using it to cover his decision.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    HASC can say 3 LCS and SASC can say 1, either way their opinions matters very little until the appropriators get involved.