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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The U.S. Navy is moving quickly to develop robotic warships that could hunt submarines and other ships, screen aircraft carriers and convoys from air attack and sweep away enemy mines.

But there's another mission the Navy should consider assigning to unmanned surface vessels, Neil Zerbe, a retired Navy officer, argued for the Center for International Maritime Security: shuttling supplies from ship to shore in the aftermath of an amphibious assault by U.S. Marines.

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French Air Force Dassault Mirage F1 and Rafale fighters in a 70th anniversary of the 2/30 Normandy-Niemen Fighter Squadron (Wikimedia Commons)

A private company in Texas has acquired scores of old French fighter jets — and with its 63 former French air force Dassault Mirage F1s, Fort Worth-based Airborne Tactical Advantage Company possesses an air force that, in size, rivals that of many countries.

ATAC in 2017 announced it would buy the single-engine Mirages in order to expand its adversary operation, which simulates the "red air" enemy force in U.S. and allied war games.

Two years later ATAC announced that, with the help of parent company Textron, it has finished refurbishing and upgrading the supersonic Mirages.

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The U.S. Coast Guard on April 23, 2019 tapped VT Halter Marine, Inc. to build, for $750 million, the service's first new heavy icebreaker in four decades.

With the contract award, the Coast Guard finally is getting serious about strengthening its presence at Earth's rapidly-melting poles. Human industry adds carbon to the atmosphere that traps heat and causes rapid change in the global climate.

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U.S. forces in Europe are getting smarter and more flexible. But they still lack firepower.

That's one problem that U.S. Air Force general Tod Wolters, the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, described in a wide-ranging interview that Air Force magazine published in April 2019.

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A Bradley firing a TOW missile. (DoD photo/Wikiimedia Commons)

The Army has begun shopping around for a robotic armored vehicle that can replace some of the branch's old M-2 Bradley manned fighting vehicles.

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