Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress [November 29, 2011] [open pdf - 1MB]
"The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular 'plug-and-fight' mission packages. The Navy wants to field a force of 55 LCSs. The first two LCSs (LCS-1 and LCS-2) were procured in FY2005 and FY2006 and were commissioned into service on November 8, 2008, and January 16, 2010, respectively. Six more (LCSs 3 through 8) were procured in FY2009-FY2011 at a rate of two ships per year; these ships are now under construction. […] On November 3, 2010, the Navy notified congressional offices that it was prepared to implement a dual-award acquisition strategy under which the Navy would award each LCS builder a 10-ship block buy contract for the six-year period FY2010-FY2015. The Navy needed additional legislative authority from Congress to implement the dual-award strategy. Congress granted the authority in Section 150 of H.R. 3082/P.L. 111-322 of December 22, 2010. On December 29, 2010, the Navy implemented the dual-award strategy, awarding a 10-ship, fixed-price incentive (FPI) block-buy contract to Lockheed, and another 10-ship, FPI block-buy contract to Austal USA. LCSs 5 through 8 are the first four LCSs executed under the two block-buy contracts. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include the Navy's lack of economic order quantity (EOQ) authority for executing the two block-buy contracts, changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules, the combat survivability of the LCS, hull cracking on LCS-1, and corrosion on LCS-2."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33741