Report: Navy's premiere warship not combat ready

In a recent Navy review of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), service leaders found severe gaps "between ship capabilities and the missions the Navy will need LCS to execute," Bloomberg reports.  

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“Failure to adequately address LCS requirements and capabilities will result in a large number of ships that are ill-suited to execute” the needs of military commanders worldwide, according to the confidential Navy report. 

The LCS has long been seen by Navy officials as the future of the service's combat fleet. 

Navy officials anticipated ship's advanced weapons and communications systems, combined its modular design, would allow the LCS to do the jobs of three different combat ships. 

But since its inception, the LCS has been plagued by development and construction delays, resulting in massive cost increases to the program. 

Warship proponents claim that once the LCS is complete, it will save the Navy billions in operations and maintanence costs by replacing a number of older vessels in the fleet. 

But Tuesday's report, written Navy Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, found the ship's modular design would require "impractical" equipment swaps. 

The ship, as designed, would prevent it from docking in some ports, according to the report. 

Finally, the Navy's decision to proceed with two versions of the ship, built by two different defense firms, complicates logistics and maintenance.

Lockheed Martin and Austal USA are the two US firms contracted to build the LCS. 

On Tuesday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert defended the program, noting the Perez report was "a year old," noting Navy leaders have made tremendous strides in the ship's development. 

"All of our ships, even the very best . . . are quite capable," Greenert told members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

"We are . . .  improving the armament on the ship, and we will continue to do so," the four-star admiral added.