Thursday, October 21, 2010

LCS Thought of the Day

I just read through Ronald O’Rourke's latest CRS report regarding the LCS, RL33741, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress. The latest is dated October 14, 2010 and should be available at that link above by the end of the week.

The report has grown into 62 pages that documents no mentionable successes, plenty of mentionable failures, dozens of course changes, and a destination filled with question marks.

If you have Bloomberg TV channel you might want to look out for the program "Conversations with Judy Woodruff. On the episode that aired on October 15th, Admiral Mullen puts the Littoral Combat Ship program squarely in the cross-hairs of the POM12 discussion stating flat out that if the LCS cannot stay on cost and schedule, the program has no future.

I honestly believe the program is about to die, but as of this week the official Navy position is that the decision has been delayed to insure the integrity of the selection. As I meet with other USNI Bloggers this week, I intend to get a good group together and see if they wish to each contribute a post regarding which LCS version they would select if they were King for a day.

I already know which one I'd pick, but I'll save that for my detailed post explaining my thoughts on the subject. I will go ahead and admit one thing though - I absolutely believe the Lockheed Martin version of the LCS will win the competition - and indeed the competition itself is mostly for show. Ever since the original announcement regarding the acquisition strategy, when they tied the combat system to the respective hulls instead of having a competition for the combat system separate from the hulls like the Navy originally intended, it was decided in my mind at that time that Lockheed Martin would win.

Indeed, that is also the reason why I could see any protest by Austal/General Dynamics/Raytheon/etc... being successful, no matter how many i's get dots and t's get crossed.

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