USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Thach (FFG-43) in 2011. US Navy Photo
The Navy won’t reactivate any Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates in support of operations in U.S. Southern Command, according to an internal service memo obtained by USNI News. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) sits pierside in San Diego, Calif. US Navy Photo
This article is the second in a three-part series on the changes occurring in the Littoral Combat Ship community as the fleet rapidly grows, moves to a new crewing and organizational construct and prepares for multi-ship forward operations.
SAN DIEGO — A flurry of Littoral Combat Ship activity on the San Diego waterfront belies any thought the program is in a sleepy infancy phase.
There is more LCS activity taking place now than in the history of the program. Both Austal USA and Lockheed Martin continue to churn out new ships. All three mission packages – surface warfare, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare – are in development. Several ships are in maintenance, and new crews are forming and training ahead of at least three upcoming deployments. One ship, USS Coronado (LCS-4) is operating out of Singapore today. And the crews and LCS squadrons are reorganizing themselves to maximize operational readiness. Read More
Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) transits the Bohol Sea on June 17, 2017. US NAvy Photo
This article is the first in a three-part series on the changes occurring in the Littoral Combat Ship community as the fleet rapidly grows, moves to a new crewing and organizational construct and prepares for multi-ship forward operations.
SAN DIEGO -– The Littoral Combat Ship fleet has spent the last year in the midst of a reorganization and preparing for a new way of doing business following recommendations from a 2016 LCS Review that pointed the Navy towards injecting simplicity, stability and ownership into the unusual program.
A year into implementing those recommendations, the LCS fleet looks vastly different than originally envisioned – and to the benefit of both the program office, the sailors and operational commanders, several officers told USNI News. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway off the coast of Oregon conducting rough water trials on March 17, 2015. US Navy photo.
The Navy held an industry day for companies interested in participating in the frigate program, walking them through what is already decided about the future ship program and what decisions are pending industry feedback. Read More
USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Independence (LCS-2)
This post has been updated to include the link to the full Request for Information.
The Navy released the first formal details on what it wants in its guided-missile frigate in a new request for information to industry issued today. The new ship concept outlined in the RFI in many ways resembles the Navy’s previous frigate plans but also looks at upgrades like more powerful radars and vertical-launch missile tubes. Read More
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 NAVY YARD – The Navy is laying the groundwork now for more complex Littoral Combat Ship operations in Asia and the Middle East, preparing to deploy two simultaneously to Singapore and one to Bahrain in 2018, the program executive officer for LCS told USNI News. Read More
Sioux City (LCS-11) during the ship’s moveout at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine yard in Wisconsin. Lockheed Martin photo.
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – The Navy will begin exploring interest in its revamped frigate program soon, with the Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS) set to release a request for information (RFI) to industry by the end of the month. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) enters dry dock for Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) at San Diego Ship Repair on May 19, 2017. US Navy photo.
The Navy could reach a 355-ship fleet 10 to 15 years faster than current plans allow if it extended the service life of today’s surface ships by five or 10 years each, effectively cutting in half the time it would take to complete the fleet buildup, the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command said today. Read More
The following is the May 19, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress. Read More