The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship was supposed to be cheap, fast, flexible and easy to build.

But after spending $30 billion over a period of around two decades, the U.S. Navy has managed to acquire just 35 of the 3,000-ton-displacement vessels.

Sixteen were in service as of late 2018. Of those 16, four are test ships. Six are training ships. In 2019 just six LCSs, in theory, are deployable.

While that number should increase as the remaining ships in the class finally commission into service, the LCS's low readiness rate calls into question the wisdom of the Navy's investment in the type.

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After years of frequent mechanical failures ad embarrassing cost overruns, the Navy finally plans on deploying three hulls from its much-derided Littoral Combat Ship fleet by this fall after a protracted absence from the high seas, the U.S. Naval Institute reports.

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Nobody wants the Littoral Combat Ship, and yet here it is.

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US Navy

Lawmakers are giving the U.S. Navy three more littoral combat ships than the service actually wants or needs, because of course they would.

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Editor's note: This story first appeared in April 2018 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

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The USS Little Rock, a Navy littoral combat ship commissioned in late December, finally left the port of Montreal this weekend, more than three months after docking there for a short stop on its maiden voyage.

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