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It also requires intelligence gathering and scouting, some ground combat support capabilities, and the ability to act as a local command node, sharing tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines, and joint units.At the same time, however, the US Navy needs ships that can act as low-end fillers in other traditional fleet roles, and operate in the presence of missile-armed enemy vessels and/or aerial threats.Meanwhile, the reality of ships that are expected to remain in service for over 30 years gives rise to a need for electronic longevity.As the saga of the USA’s cost-effective but short-lived FFG-7 frigates proved, “future-proofing” and upgradeability for key systems, electronics, and weapons will be critical if these small surface combatants are to remain useful throughout their mechanical lives.While a ship’s hull and design makes a number of its performance parameters difficult to change, the Americans believed they may have a solution that lets them upgrade sensors and key systems.Denmark’s Standard Flex 300 corvettes pioneered a revolutionary approach of swappable mission modules, based on ISO containers.The initial teaming arrangement was led by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipbuilder as prime integrator, with Austal of Mobile, AL (a subsidiary of Austal Ships of Australia) as the main design partner and ship-building site.
Lockheed’s core team includes various Lockheed divisions, plus naval architects Gibbs & Cox of Arlington, VA; shipbuilder Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, LA; and shipbuilder Marinette Marine of Marinette, WI.
One option is technology-based, via spiral development that focuses on rapid insertions of new equipment.
This creates a long series of slight improvements in the mission modules, and hence the ship’s capabilities.
The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.
Ultimately, the US Navy is trying to replace 56 vessels: 30 FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, 14 MCM Avenger Class mine countermeasures vessels, and 12 MHC-51 Osprey Class coastal mine hunters.Niche providers and related partnerships include: The LCS-2 Independence Class offers a futuristic but practical high-speed trimaran, based on Austal designs and experience with vessels like the US Marines’ Westpac Express high-speed transport, and the Army and Navy’s TSV/HSV ships.