Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress [Updated January 4, 2008]   [open pdf - 201KB]

From the Summary: "The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is a small, fast, relatively inexpensive combat ship that is to be equipped with modular 'plug-and-fight' mission packages, including unmanned vehicles (UVs). The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame. The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. The Navy's planned force of 55 LCSs accounts for about 18% of its planned fleet of 313 ships of all types. Congress funded a total of six LCS sea frames (LCSs 1 through 6) in the FY2005, FY2006, and FY2007 defense budgets. In 2007, as Congress was acting on the proposed FY2008 defense budget, the LCS program was substantially restructured by the Navy in response to significant cost growth and schedule delays in the program. As part of this restructuring, LCSs 3 through 6 were canceled, leaving only LCSs 1 and 2 under construction. […] The Navy's proposed FY2009 budget, to be submitted to Congress in February 2008, reportedly will request funding for the procurement of two more LCSs. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to cost growth, total program acquisition cost, operational evaluation and competition for production, a proposed common combat system, coordination of sea frames and mission packages, and the funding of mission packages. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33741
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