Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Little Orphan Ship

If SOUTHCOM gets Littoral Combat Ships to fight drug smuggling, it just proves how ill-suited the LCS is to sea control missions.

How the mighty have fallen:

The military is poised to decide whether it will use the littoral combat ship to stop illegal drug shipments from South and Central America to the United States.

The LCS was going to be the wonder ship of the post-Cold War era when no navies challenged our Navy for control of the seas, capable of operating close to shores and rapidly reconfigurable for a number of missions in the littorals.

But the return of great power competition has made control of the oceans a mission rather than a given.

But we still have LCS in service and under construction. Since it would be suicidal to send them up against actual enemy fleets,* they can be spared for essentially law enforcement duty.

I've noted that SOUTHCOM is low on priorities and so making their own modularized auxiliary cruiser might be their answer to the need for sea-based aviation and interdiction efforts.

Seriously, a modularized auxiliary cruiser equipped for this mission could carry aviation assets, be a mother ship for smaller vessels, carry boarding parties, plus have weapons itself. And have plenty of storage space to house those arrested and to store the confiscated contraband.

But I digress (as I can!).

But the LCS--despite the promising theory of modularity--dropped so much in usefulness in the new era (to the degree that it became known as the Little Crappy Ship) that the Pentagon may not see it as a loss to send them to Latin America despite the desperate need for ship numbers in the fleet.

The LCS is now the LOS, the Little Orphan Ship.

*And it would be folly to send them into the littorals, I should add.