Tags: navy | littoral | ship | future

Navy's Problem-Plagued Ship of Future Facing Cutbacks

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By Lisa Barron   |   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 03:32 PM

The U.S. Navy is facing mounting pressure from the Pentagon to cut back plans for the innovative Littoral Combat Ship, as it continues to deal with maintenance issues.

The Navy sent the USS Freedom to Singapore this spring, hoping the experimental warship would pass a review with flying colors, but when the report came back last week, it was less than stellar, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Indeed, they found the scope of the problems, including generator meltdowns, burst pipes and propulsion troubles, to be "a little stunning," Rear Adm. Tom Rowden, the Navy's director of surface warfare, told the newspaper.

Now, they are trying to protect the ship from Defense Department planners, who are suggesting that the Navy buy far fewer of the 52 vessels it reportedly planned to purchase for more than $30 billion.

"We're not canceling the LCS," a senior defense official told the Journal, acknowledging, however, "We're looking to reduce the numbers."

The littoral combat ship, which Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has said "represents the future of the Navy—and the future of warfare," has been under scrutiny since its inception in 2002, with mounting concerns about cost overruns and structural deficiencies causing doubts about its combat effectiveness and durability, reports Stars and Stripes.

Navy officials had reportedly hoped to have 24 littoral ships under contract by the end of 2021, including 16 for the Pacific Fleet.

But with a quickly shrinking military budget, the Pentagon is eager to put on the brakes.

"We need to slow down a little bit until the Navy truly figures out what its needs are," Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Journal.

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