Senators lined up Wednesday at a Sea Power hearing to question Navy leaders about the internal service report first obtained by Bloomberg in which Navy Rear Adm. Samuel Perez wrote that the Littoral Combat Ship was "ill-suited to execute regional commander’s warfighting needs."
Lawmakers wanted details why the U.S. should continue to invest in the $37 billion program to continue building the next-generation surface ship fleet.
“The Navy plans for the Littoral Combat Ship to comprise over one-third of the nation’s total surface combatant fleet by 2028, and yet the Littoral Combat Ship has not yet demonstrated adequate performance of assigned missions. We need to fix it or find something else rapidly,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Navy leaders.
A conference call with reporters was organized Wednesday afternoon to allow the head of the LCS Council, Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, to provide the Navy's explanation to defense reporters about the progress the program has made since the report was published internally about one year ago.
The major problems with the LCS program in the report was the amount of firepower on board as well as its manning. Perez questioned whether the LCS could sustain an attack in combat and respond.
Hunt pointed out that the report was a year old and the LCS Council, the agency he heads, has since been stood up to start addressing the issues raised in it. He argued that problems like are to be expected in development programs like this.
However, it's rare for a Navy leader to question the ability of a platform -- even one in development -- to meet basic mission requirements at this stage in the program. The LCS program started in 2002.
Military.com reporter Kris Osborn observed the hearings, read portions of the report, and was on the call with Hunt. Read more of the Navy's explanations about how they plan to rescue the LCS program here.