In defense of the LCS

Or, the Navy strikes back . . .

There has been a lot of carping about the Navy's new littoral combat ships: too expensive, supposedly not survivable, etc. At least some of the criticism comes from a false premise about the ships' mission and role; despite some of the early stories, the ships are not intended to be all things to all people.

Last week, the chief spokesman for the Navy countered the critics:

Nobody ever said this ship can — and no engineer can ever design a ship to — withstand every conceivable threat on the sea. But the LCS is significantly more capable than the older mine counter measure ships and patrol craft it was designed to replace, and stands up well to the frigates now serving in the fleet.
It is fast, maneuverable, and has low radar, infrared, and magnetic signatures. Its core self-defense suite is designed to defeat a surprise salvo of one or two anti-ship cruise missiles when the ship is operating independently, or leakers that get through fleet area and short-range air defenses when operating with naval task forces. 

Full statement, as a blog entry, here.

Frankly, if the Navy had called the design a minesweeper or counter-PT ship, there'd be zero critics. But it might not have gotten funded either -- "littoral warfare" was the buzz word at the time.

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