Defense News on the LCS

uscg_bertholf.jpgA Defense News editorial urges Keep the LCS (subscription only):

The relatively high cost for each lead ship of more than $400 million shouldn’t be a driving consideration. First-of-type ships are always over budget. The DDG 51, arguably the most powerful surface combatant ever built, debuted 17 months late and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. Costs dropped as volume rose, and LCS will be no different.

The key is to get both ships to the fleet. There, sailors can rigorously test them to determine the merits of speed in littoral operations; the practicality and efficacy of the mission module concept; the relative ride, handling and payload attributes of the two designs; and the potential perils of ultra-lean manning.

Sadly, the Navy’s 2006 decisions to cut one LCS from each builder will prolong the experimentation process, and handicap it as well. For one thing, it will be tougher to see how the ships perform in groups.

They note that talk has been circulating about using the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter (NSC) design instead of the LCS.


  1. The DDG 51, arguably the most powerful surface combatant ever built…’ Ok, I’m game. Who thinks the DDG 51 is the most powerful surface combatant ever built?

  2. I believe it is ‘arguably the most powerful’ ship ever, as long as you don’t argue with someone who has a .50 cal machine gun or better, ’cause they could sink it in a heartbeat. At which point I think the ‘ultra-lean manning’ will come in handy because you won’t have as many dead bodies to pull out of the water.