In the early 2000s, the threat of fast-attack craft and fast inshore attack craft in the Persian Gulf dominated tactical and operational decision-making. The littoral combat ship (LCS) was born from this environment and the operational mind-set it inspired. But the strategic seascape has changed with the reemergence of great power competition, and the Navy has shifted focus to coordinated theater campaigns. In this contemporary context, the deployment of a solitary LCS surface warfare (SUW) mission package marginalizes its combat effectiveness. Instead, the LCS deployment model should be built around a surface action group (SAG) of two or more SUW-configured LCSs.
1. CAPT Wayne P. Hughes Jr. and ADM Robert Girrier, USN (Ret.), Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 3rd ed. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2018), 194.
2. Sam LaGrone, “SNA: Navy Surface Leaders Pitch More Lethal Ships, Surface Action Groups,” USNI News, 15 January 2015, https://news.usni.org/2015/01/14/sna-navy-surface-leaders-pitch-lethal-ships-surface-action-groups.
3. VADM Thomas Rowden, RADM Peter Gumataotao, and RADM Peter Fanta, USN, “Distributed Lethality,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 141, no. 1 (January 2015).
4. MC1 Trevor Walsh, USN, “Surface Action Group: A Key to Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” Surface Warfare Magazine 54 (Spring 2017), www.public.navy.mil/surfor/swmag/Pages/Surface-Action-Group---A-Key-To-Maintaining-Maritime-Superiority.aspx.
5. Walsh, “Surface Action Group.”
6. Normal range is the radius of sensors (r) from the ship. Two ships (two circles, each with radius r), 2r apart can see 3r in one direction instead of r. Surveillance range increases further with the inclusion of air assets.
7. A1-MQ8CA-NFM-000, “NATOPS Flight Manual Navy Model MQ-8C Unmanned Aircraft System,” 1 November 2017, 4-9, 4.4.8. 150 nautical mile maximum operating range.
8. HSC Mission Statement FINAL, 28 February 2020, https://cpf.navy.deps.mil/sites/cnap-cmds2/CHSCWP/Command%20Policy%202/HSC%20Mission%20Statement%20FINAL.pdf.
9. CHSCWP Command Philosophy, 21 September 2017, https://cpf.navy.deps.mil/sites/cnap-cmds2/CHSCWP/lessons/CDRE%20VISION/HSC%20STRATEGY/CHSCWP%20Command%20Philosophy.pdf.
10. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, “Littoral Combat Ship (LCS),” FY19 Programs, www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub/reports/FY2019/navy/2019lcs.pdf?ver=2020-01-30-115500-220.
11. SEAWOLF Manual, ch. 1.5, “Maneuver Description Guide,” May 2016, 74.
12. Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Program (SWTP), COMHELSEACOMBATWINGPAC 3502.6, 28 October 2015. Fifteen of 21 Pilot Core LVLIII/IIIi events require dual ship.
13. “LCS: The Future Is Now,” All Hands Magazine, https://allhands.navy.mil/Features/LCS/.
14. Lockheed Martin, “Littoral Combat Ship,” www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/littoral-combat-ship-lcs.html.
15. Brien Alkire et al., Littoral Combat Ships: Relating Performance to Mission Package Inventories, Homeports, and Installation Sites (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp, 2007), 76, Table 8.1, 13.
16. John Kirby, “Return Fire on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship,” Time, 12 October 2012. https://nation.time.com/2012/10/12/return-fire-on-the-navys-littoral-combat-ship/print/.
1. John Marriott, Fast Attack Craft (New York: Crane, Russak and Company Inc, 1978), 11.
2. Bryan Cooper, PT Boats (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970), 9.
3. Harold Lee Wise, “One Day of War,” Naval History 27, no. 2 (March 2013).