Ship boat

The littoral combat ship of the navy: on the edge of the abyss?

The US Navy has poured billions of dollars into the Littoral Combat Ship, or what many call the LCS. However, the ships have been riddled with problems for years. What should the US Navy do with it?

By the end of World War II, the United States Navy had become the largest in the world. Yet, soon after the end of the conflict, many of her warships were retired and then sold for scrap. However, a number of destroyers and even cruisers were sold to countries in South America.

This included the brooklynUSS-class cruiser Phoenixwhich was sold to Argentina and renamed ARA General Belgrano. She was sunk 40 years ago during the Falklands War, and until the sinking of the Russian warship Moscow last month, General Belgrano was the largest warship lost in action since World War II.

Additionally, the former USS brooklyn renamed Bernardo O’Higgins in honor of one of the founding fathers of Chile, served in the Chilean Navy until 1992.

South American nations have clearly made good use of these retired American warships and may soon have another chance to acquire a few modern ships at a good price. South America largely lacks the capacity to build warships and traditionally turns to Europe. This led to a naval arms race on the continent before the outbreak of World War I, while during the Cold War these nations sought to acquire used but reliable retired ships from the United States, United Kingdom United and from France.

Littoral Combat Ship: Heading South?

The next group of ships potentially headed south could be the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), the vessels that were developed during the Global War on Terror (GWOT) to operate in coastal or littoral waters – but which now seem mismatched. to a conflict with an adversary close to its peers such as China or Russia. With shifting priorities, not to mention the LCS program failing to fulfill its promised potential, the US Navy sought to retire up to nine of the small but fast ships.

Instead of scrapping them, the Navy offered to donate them to regional allies and partners.

“There are countries in South America…that could use these vessels that have small crews and so instead of just looking at scrapping as the only option, I think there are others that we can review, sir,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm Michael Gilday said in response to a question from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), during testimony on the service’s fiscal year 2023 budget request. (FY23) to the US Senate Appropriations Committee, BreakingDefense reported.

Littoral Combat Ship: The Great Gift?

The warships would be well suited for operations in the waters around South America, where they could be used to conduct counter-narcotics missions. In October 2021, the United States Navy announced the USS City of the Sioux seized nearly 500 kilograms of suspected cocaine, which the service said had “an estimated street value of over $20.7 million.”

This seizure followed an even larger seizure in April 2021, when the USS Freedom was deployed in joint anti-drug operations with the US Coast Guard off Mexico. While operating in U.S. Third Fleet waters, LCS-1 and the 23rd Carrier Helicopter Squadron identified and approached an illicit drug-carrying boat and assisted the Coast Guard, who conducted a boarding , search and seizure. More than 1,500 kilograms of cocaine were seized during the operation.

Today’s editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military hardware and is the author of several books on military headgear, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a Contributing author for Forbes.