Briefing: Littoral Combat Ships
February, 2015 Luncheon Speaker
Make no mistake, our destroyers, cruisers, subs and carriers are absolutely essential to the defense of our country and they are needed in numbers that will support our defense in times of crisis and beyond. But in times of peace, in times of relative calm, we must have the ability to put credible combat power to sea across a wide spectrum of capability and do it affordably. For the acquisition and operating price of a single destroyer manned with 300 of our finest Sailors executing peacetime patrol for submarines, we will be able to deploy four littoral combat ships that are equipped with an anti-submarine warfare mission package to get four times the anti-submarine warfare coverage, four times the anti-submarine warfare capability, four times the anti-submarine warfare capacity, and four times the engagement with our friends, partners and allies. And we can execute it indefinitely, for months or perhaps years on end, by rotating crews and ships. We have to bring that single destroyer home for some crew rest and relaxation, but we don’t with a littoral combat ship – incredible capability at the same or less cost.
We are getting a great deal from two building yards, and both yard shave invested a lot of private capital to expand their industrial capacity. The two builders are managing their transition from “stickbuilt ” research and development designs to serial production, and have shown solid learning curves in that transition process. The current program of record is 52 warships between the two classes. In the current and projected budget environment, we should ask what other missions we want and need these warships to take on, and how many more of these warships we should buy. I can easily envision twice the number of littoral combat ships in the fleet, maintaining persistence presence and relieving our more expensive ships of vital work so they can reset and refit and not have to execute expensive operations at sea.
Excerpts from an article by RADM T.S. Roden USN,Director Surface Warfare