Navy Extends Two-Month Review of Littoral Combat Ship Program

Littoral Combat Ship

On the heels of the conclusion of a Navy review of the service's littoral combat ship program, the chief of naval operations has asked for more time to complete the probe.

In a statement Thursday, Adm. John Richardson said he had met with Naval Surface Forces Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden and other members of the LCS review team to receive an update.

While he said he was happy with the progress made so far, he needed more information.

"As the team walked me through their work it was clear that LCS crewing would be the main driver for many of the follow-on decisions about operations, training, and maintenance, so we will address that issue first," Richardson said in the statement.

"Before making final decisions, I asked the team to go back and provide me a few more details on some of the topics they presented," he added. "We will convene again in about a month to decide on the best way forward."

Richardson ordered the review in a Feb. 29 memo to study the program’s crewing approach, which cycles three crews between two ships, as well as operations, training and maintenance practices.

According to the memo, Richardson said he wants to find the right balance between ship training and simulation ashore, determine the right maintenance strategy, assess warfighting and operational capabilities, and more.

There are now six littoral combat ships in service: three of the Freedom-class monohull variant, and three of the Independence-class trimaran-variant. The Navy is planning to downselect to one variant of the ship in fiscal 2018.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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