The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launched a Naval Strike Missile on Tuesday, marking the first time the NSM has been fired in the Indo-Pacific region, the Navy told Insider.

The NSM, along with additional firepower from U.S. and Singaporean forces, sank the decommissioned frigate USS Ford as part of an exercise with Singapore's navy in the Philippine Sea on Tuesday.

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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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