The Navy’s littoral combat ships (LCSs) have been a disappointment and a thorn in strategists’ sides—this is no secret. They are unable to fit in with carrier strike groups, and, as built, barely able to defend themselves, so finding a niche for them has been a challenge. The final number of LCSs has fluctuated frequently, but the Navy recently ordered hulls 36 and 38. Most navies would welcome an additional 40 ships, but the LCS does not yet add much punch. Short-range antiair weapons, coupled with small-caliber deck guns, and Hellfire missiles to ward off armed boats do not make a potent warship. However, the 2018 decision to add long-range antiship cruise missiles (ASCM) will give the LCS a purpose.
Focus Littoral Combat Ships on Antisurface Warfare
By Master Chief Tom Lohr, U.S. Navy (Retired)