Pentagon’s top tester: Littoral ships ‘have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission’

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program is behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget, and incapable of conducting most of the basic missions it was intended to carry out. Senators on Thursday said they wanted to know why.

“Like so many major programs that preceded it, LCS’s failure followed predictably from an inability to define and stabilize requirements, unrealistic initial cost estimates, and unreliable assessments of technical and integration risk, made worse by repeatedly buying ships and mission packages before proving they are effective and can be operated together,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., told Pentagon witnesses during a hearing.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was more blunt. “The process is completely broken. If you want this to stop, somebody needs to get fired.”

The current fleet of eight ships “have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission, the Navy’s requirement, without a critical failure of one or more seaframe subsystems essential for wartime operations,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test And Evaluation.

“The miracle of the LCS didn’t happen,” said Paul Francis of the Government Accountability Office. “We are 26 ships into the contract and we still don’t know if it can do its job.”

Originally scheduled to begin service in 2008 at a cost of $220 million per ship, its cost has doubled to $478 million each. And although ships have been commissioned and deployed, they are yet to be equipped with the systems that would allow them to perform their primary missions, and won’t be until 2020.

When the LCS was conceived in 2004, it was envisioned as a state-of-the-art combat vessel with a revolutionary flatted hull design that would allow a speedier, more lethal ship designed to operate in the littoral (close to shore) regions. It would contain plug-and-play mission modules to take out surface threats, hunt mines or go after enemy submarines.

Full article: Pentagon’s top tester: Littoral ships ‘have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission’ (The Washington Examiner)

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