In the 1916 Battle of Jutland, two Royal Navy battlecruisers exploded because their armor had been sacrificed for speed, famously prompting Admiral David Beatty to remark, “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” In our day, as littoral combat ship (LCS) construction continues, many mutter similar complaints. The trimaran hull of the Independence class causes some of the dismay, but even more so for naval planners is the sacrifice of armor and armament for high speed.
Because of this, many believe the Navy has not learned its lessons from the past. Still, as we head into a world with asymmetrical threats and wider-ranging missions, the LCS will prove to be an adaptable solution despite its flaws—unless it fails its first major mission. In that case, the program will be cut before it reaches its full potential. It is, therefore, imperative for the first mission of the LCS to be one that complements its strengths.