Since the concept phase of the LCS program, supporters and detractors alike have argued for or against the ship class. Recently, however, the debate has shifted away from pundits to official U.S. government assessors, with arguably damning conclusions about the ships. Navy leaders espousing the virtues of LCS-1 and -2 are increasingly in the minority amid a rapidly building case for the program’s dramatic restructuring—or demise. Instead of muddling forward to an almost certainly marginal outcome, the Navy should cancel the LCS program and acquire a proven single-mission hull.
Scrutiny on the LCS is nothing new. Still, summing up previous criticisms of the LCS is worthwhile—though the list of deficiencies and concerns is long:1
• Unaffordable. The near tripling of the expected hull price tag and unrealistic Navy cost estimates are well documented in current literature, but they become a stark program stigma amid current Department of Defense fiscal austerity. Life-cycle costs of the two “orphaned” LCS hulls after the down-select decision are also a factor.