Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress [March 24, 2015] [open pdf - 637KB]
"The Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program is a program to procure 52 LCSs and frigates. The first LCS was funded in FY2005, and a total of 23 have been funded through FY2015. The Navy's proposed FY2016 budget requests $1,437.0 million for the procurement of three more LCSs, or an average of $479.0 million each. […] Two very different baseline LCS designs are being built. One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The Lockheed design is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI; the General Dynamics design is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL. Ships 5 through 24 in the program are being procured under a pair of 10-ship block buy contracts that were awarded to the two LCS builders in December 2010. The 24th LCS--the first of the three LCSs expected to be requested for procurement in FY2016--is the final ship to be procured under these block buy contracts. The LCS program has been controversial due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships' survivability (i.e., ability to withstand battle damage), concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed and would be able to perform their stated missions effectively, and concerns over the development and testing of the ships' modular mission packages. The Navy's execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years. The program's restructuring in 2014 raises additional oversight issues for Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33741