The embattled Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme is heading for another set-back with reports suggesting that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is planning to purchase less than half the amount the U.S. Navy expected.
According to sources at Defense News, the OSD will limit the number of Littoral Combat Ships to 24. Originally, 55 ships were scheduled to be acquired but this was reduced to 52 earlier this year. The Navy has insisted that it can go no lower than 32 ships.
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The Littoral Combat Ship programme is designed to support the Navy in defeating growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters, helping keep critical commercial shipping lanes open worldwide. The USS Fort Worth, the third LCS and the second Freedom-variant, was commissioned in September 2012.
Officials at the OSD countered the reports, with a spokesman claiming, “We continue to evaluate the future demand for forces and will maintain a balance between force structure requirements while managing fiscal and operational risk. We remain committed to a 52-ship LCS programme — this number accurately and appropriately captures the requirement for capacity and capabilities.”
Source: Defence IQ Press