Monday, June 05, 2017

Survive the Threat and Be the Threat

While I welcome a review of what a frigate should do, the problem isn't that threats are changing but that the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) was a failure for the threat it was intended to face.


A planned $143 million review of the Navy’s future frigate design was prompted by a changing threat environment that will require the ship to complete more missions, top service officials told Congress this week.

The review was included as part of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request, released Tuesday.

The money, budget documents say, will allow the Navy to “reassess the capabilities required to ensure the multi-mission frigate paces future threats.” Priorities, according to the request, include maximizing lethality and survivability, particularly in the areas of surface warfare, air warfare through local area defense, and anti-submarine warfare.

The future frigate is set to be based on the controversial littoral combat ship, a platform that saw major cost overruns in its early years and still faces harsh criticism from oversight authorities on survivability and ability to execute its major mission sets.

We want a frigate instead of the LCS (which was good in concept with modularity but failed in practice) that was to replace the frigate, but the LCS is not survivable and doesn't have the firepower to fight blue water threats. So this review is a good development.

But let's not pretend that the LCS would have been great if only the threat environment hadn't changed.

The original mission was always impossible. The LCS was horrible for the littoral environment for which the Littoral Combat Ship was intended!