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.
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) commissioning ceremony in Buffalo, N.Y. on Dec. 16, 2017. US Navy Photo
A commissioning ceremony was held in Buffalo, N.Y. today for USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the latest Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship. Read More
An MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter sits on the deck of Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8). US Navy Photo
The Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles will receive a new radar and datalink to set the UAV up as a forward spotter for the Navy’s surface fleet.
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 guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) leads the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) in formation during a simulated strait transit as part of Dawn Blitz 2017. US Navy Photo
Lawmakers bought themselves two more weeks to pass a defense spending bill, after extending the continuing resolution that has funded the government since the start of the fiscal year, but the Navy is already seeing decreased readiness as a result of operating under a CR and would face severe procurement challenges if a defense budget isn’t passed by the end of the month. Read More
The following is the Nov. 30, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) Sailors man the rails as the ship transits the San Diego Harbor to return to homeport after an 18 month deployment on Dec. 5, 2017. US Navy Photo
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, Calif. – With guidance from an orange tug, the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) inched its way toward its berth Tuesday afternoon and wrapped up its maiden deployment after 18 months in the Western Pacific. Read More
The following is the Nov. 9, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Frigate (FFG(X)) Program: Background and Issues for Congress. Read More
USS Coronado (LCS-4) is underway during a photo exercise as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the Republic of Singapore and Royal Thai navies. US Navy Photo
KUALA LUMPUR – The U.S. Navy is planning to enhance naval engagement with nations across South and Southeast Asia next year, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, the commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73, told USNI on Tuesday. Read More
Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2 and Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Company (ExMCM Co.) 202, stand by in a rigid-hull inflatable boat as a Mark 18. Mod. 2 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) is lowered into the water during a ExMCM training exercise on Aug. 4,2017. US Navy photo.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy is trending towards a mix-and-match set of people, platforms and sensors to detect and destroy mines, a departure from the simpler legacy mine countermeasures setup with a single helicopter type and a single wooden-hull ship class, set for replacement by the new Littoral Combat Ship and its neatly defined mission package. Read More