Imperial Navy Proposes Retiring the First 4 Littoral Combat Ships After Just 7 to 13 Years in Service

That's how "useful" the $400 million boats are

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Editor’s note: The proposed cuts are part of a larger story (that is also very newsworthy) but it is clear the proposed cuts fall the most heavily on the “littoral combat ships” despite being some of the newest vessels in the fleet. The four LCS in question were commissioned in 2008 (USS Freedom), 2010 (USS Independence), 2012 (USS Forth Worth) and 2014 (USS Coronado). The newest of the four would be retired with just seven years of service!

Related reading: Imperial Navy Struggling to Find a Use for Littoral Combat Ship Lemons

The US Navy has put forward a proposal to decommission the first four littoral combat ships in 2021 as part of a cost-savings measure, according to a memorandum from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to the Defense Department.

The memo obtained by Defense News outlines plans to decommission the littoral combat ships Freedom, Independence, Fort Worth and Coronado, part of an overall plan to shrink the size of the force to deal with a flat budget. The ships all have between a 12 and 17 years of planned hull life left.

The memo also outlines plans to decommission three dock landing ships Whidbey Island, Germantown and the Gunston Hall, between eight and 14 years early, as well as accelerating the decommissioning of four cruisers.

In the same document, the DoD outlined plans to slash construction of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, cutting five out of 12 of the Burkes planned over the five-year future year defense program.

The memo amounts to a back-and-forth between the Defense Department and OMB on areas of disagreement inside the DoD’s 2021 budget request, which has yet to be finalized. Bloomberg News and Breaking Defense have previously reported on aspects of the memo.

The plan, which an administration source told Defense News was driven by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was not greeted warmly by OMB, which directed the DoD to come back with a plan that would get the Navy to 355 ships as per the original program.

The Pentagon’s plan shrinks the size of the fleet from today’s fleet of 293 ships to 287 ships. The 355-ship goal was also made national policy in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

But the plan to decommission the first four LCS will upset the Navy’s plan to use them as test ships for the still-to-be-fielded mission modules, a key part of the 2016 reorganization of the program prompted by a string of major casualties caused by system failures and operator errors.

The Navy upended the program’s signature modularity, a concept that would have seen crews attached to specific mission modules such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare or mine warfare, and could be switched out rapidly pier-side depending on the mission. But the reorganization assigned each ship a permanent mission module, with the crews training and testing on the first four LCS.

Decommissioning the ships will send the Navy back to the drawing board on how to get the new modules tested.

Bryan McGrath, a retired destroyer captain and analyst with the defense consultancy The Ferrybridge Group, said the plan to reduce the size of the fleet is a sign that the Defense Department isn’t willing to put the resources required toward growing the fleet.

“If what you are reporting is true, this is a sign of the tension between the grand desires for a much larger fleet and the modest resources being applied to the problem,” McGrath said. “There simply is no way to grow the fleet as it is currently architected while maintaining the current fleet at a high state of readiness with the given resources.”

McGrath said if 355 is still the goal, the Pentagon has to either dramatically restructure the fleet to switch out large surface combatants such as cruisers and destroyers with smaller, less expensive ships, or it has to change what’s counted as a ship – both moves that have been signaled by the Navy in recent years.

“This is why it’s so hard to grow a Navy,” McGrath said. “You have to decide it’s a national priority, you have to devote a lot of resources and you have to do it over a period of years. None of that has happened.”

Source: Defense News

  1. […] Imperial Navy Proposes Retiring the First 4 Littoral Combat Ships After Just 7 to 13 Years in Servic… by David B. Larter on December 29, 2019 at 15:26 […]

  2. Genghis Gobi says

    “It has to change what’s counted as a ship”…, by calling tugboats and harbour patrol vessels “ships”?

  3. Rowdy-Yates says

    The newest of the four would be retired with just seven years of service!
    Looks like a new money making scheme for the US Arms industry. Failing to generate enough wars to sustain production it seem the Arms Industry is producing ships with a limited warranty. That way 400 million dollar ships can be retired in a few years and more expensive versions produced.

    This is now the practice of American economics . it reminds me of the use and dispose society Corporate America has created in order to maximize sales and generate enormous profits. there are now a range of items that can be used only once and then disposed prompting the consumer to buy more.

  4. Ricky Miller says

    All four hulls will no doubt be gifted to the growing American puppet state in Ukraine. With boosted confidence from all the support and feeling the full cloak of colonial protective status Ukraine might make a move on Crimea when President Putin leaves office only to have all four LCS’s sunk by Russia’s far more effective and cost efficient Buyan-M class Corvettes. Decorating the bottom of the Black Sea would be a worthy eternal mission for these just above useless ships. They retired Oliver Hazard Perry class Frigates for this?

    1. Canosin says

      I only disagree with the decorating process of the black sea. … this American crap should be shipped to the Pakistani ship wreck yards. … cheaper…..

  5. LS says

    We have entered full systemic dysfunction and are becoming more ‘diverse’ by the day. And there are still people who think we should poke China and Russia?

  6. All_has_An _END_. says

    the NAVY is useless right now that is why

  7. thomas malthaus says

    The short answer is we don’t need them. Some question have arisen about their propulsion and weapons systems. The proposed Space Force and Russia’s hypersonic missile breakthroughs may have affected the calculus.

  8. Canosin says

    how big was the under the table money for the propagation of this crap of aluminium…?? who were the receiver?
    but never mind… . world is not unhappy…… actually, the US Navy should be encouraged decommissioning more vessels….say 75 ship…maybe more. . saving money…. world would be feeling safer….. (just saying…. Russia and China wouldn’t need to catch up…. saving money too) and no more FONOP chickens*it required.. .. (loudly thinking…. or dreaming)

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