After several years of avoiding the subject, the Navy is givng serious attention to the construction of a class of small surface combatants, currently referred to as littoral combat ships (LCSs). The Navy is negotiating with the Titan Corporation of San Diego, California, to design and serve as prime contractor for the prototype LCS.
The concept of a small, high-capability warship for the modem U.S. Navy was first voiced several years ago by Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski, at the time president of the Naval War College, and retired Navy Captain Wayne P. Hughes, at the Naval Post-graduate School.' Now the LCS has the backing of the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark. Admiral Clark has called for some 60 littoral combat ships, to be added to the current fleet—for a total of some 375 surface ships and submarines. Such a program would have to reverse two trends: the Navy's aversion to small combatants and the recent decline in ship construction.