#LCSMilwaukee: Little Criticized Ship

Photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katherine Boeder/U.S. Navy via Bloomberg News

Sailors salute during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Freedom littoral combat ship (LCS-1) at Veterans Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, whose initials have invited variations on the often-criticized craft’s acronym, is still the little ship that can in the eyes of its makers.

This celebrated launch is the latest sign that Lockheed Martin and allies are in this fight for the long haul.

Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio has chronicled the criticism for the ship.

Including this take on it:

“The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship lacks the robust communications systems needed to transmit critical data to support facilities ashore, according to an unreleased congressional audit, the latest in a succession of troubles for the $34 billion shipbuilding program.

“The lightly manned vessel relies on ship-to-shore communications to help crews monitor the ship’s condition, perform repairs and order medical supplies, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in its latest review of the LCS. The audit found that the communications systems lack the necessary reliability, speed and bandwidth.

“The communications deficiencies add to criticism of the vessel, which is intended to be small, speedy, and adaptable for patrolling shallow waters close to shore in areas such as the Persian Gulf and South China Sea.

“The program to build a total of 52 ships in two versions made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd. has faced an expanding list of questions about their manning, mission, firepower, defenses and survivability even as projected construction costs have soared and the Pentagon faces automatic budget cuts of about $500 billion over a decade.”

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