The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program was supposed to be a bold initiative that would break the traditional mold of Navy shipbuilding by developing and deploying a relatively small, fast, and versatile warship in half the normal time and for about one-fourth the cost of current surface combatants. It was to be the key to achieving the Navy's goal of a 313-ship Fleet.
Instead, the LCS has become a painful example of the problems that have plagued Navy shipbuilding efforts for decades and have made 313 operational ships a dream rather than a plan. According to the 30-year shipbuilding plan released in 2005, the Navy would have ordered 22 LCSs and have seven in the Fleet by the end of Fiscal Year 2010. If it actually is able to execute the contracts currently planned-not a sure thing, considering the program's history-the Navy would have two LCSs built, and possibly in service, and five more under contract by that time.