Navy to cut build out of light coastal ships?
Stars & Stripes:
The lighter, faster surface fleet of the future may get heavier than Navy leaders have planned, as high-ranking skeptics at the Pentagon try to convince lawmakers that the service is relying too much on a new coastal warfare ship.The father of the US Navy, John Paul Jones said he wanted nothing but fast ships because he intended to go in harms way. The problem with fast ships these days is that they are not as fast as ship killing missiles and must relay on a missile defense system to defeat them. That usually requires a heavier ship such as a cruiser or big destroyer. There is always going to be a trade off between speed and the weight of the ship. I suspect that we probably need a mix of the two depending on the where they will be used.
At the beginning of the year, the Navy was headed toward three decades of more speed in coastal areas and less slug-it-out strength on the high seas. By 2026, about one in six active-duty vessels would be a littoral combat ship, a light hull that can move upward of 50 mph, but one that carries less armament in comparison with some of the ships it would replace.
However, a disagreement within the Pentagon has made the scope of the LCS program uncertain, despite there being no clear replacement for a big chunk of the future fleet.
Last month, media reported that acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox, in an unreleased memo, directed the Navy to halt LCS productionafter 32 ships — 20 less than planned — and begin development of a “more capable surface combatant.”
Subsequent media reports have since cited a potential number as low as 26 ships, though no final decisions have been made.
Fox then warned against building too many “niche ships” during a speech in February. She didn’t single out the LCS by name, but the reference was clear to the Navy officers and analysts attending the U.S. Naval Institute’s West 2014 conference.
“We need more ships with the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary,” she said.