Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Littoral Combat Ship LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant that is to be equipped with modular plug-and-fight mission packages. The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame. The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. There are currently two LCS designs -- Lockheed and General Dynamics. The first ship in the program -- LCS-1, funded in FY2005 and built to the Lockheed design -- was commissioned into service on Nov 8, 2008. The second ship in the program -- LCS-2, funded in FY2006 and built to the General Dynamics design -- was delivered to the Navy on Dec 18, 2009, and is scheduled to be commissioned into service on Jan 16, 2010. LCS-3 Lockheed design and LCS-4 General Dynamics design were funded in FY2009 at a combined cost of 1,020 million and are under construction. The Navys proposed FY2010 budget, submitted in May 2009, requested 1,380 million for the procurement of three more LCSs -- an average of 460 million per ship, which at the time was the unit procurement cost cap for LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years. On Sep 16, 2009, the Navy announced a proposed new strategy for acquiring LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years. Under the Navys proposed strategy, the Navy would reduce the number of LCSs to be procured in FY2010 from three to two, and would hold a price-based competition to pick a single design to which all LCSs procured in FY2010 and subsequent years would be built. The winner of the down select would be awarded a contract to build 10 LCSs over the 5-year period FY2010-FY2014, at a rate of two ships per year. The Navy would then hold a second competition -- open to all bidders other than the shipyard building the 10 LCSs in FY2010-FY2014 -- to select a second shipyard to build up to five additional LCSs to the same design in FY2012-FY2014. These two shipyards would then compete for contracts to build LCSs procured in FY2015 and subsequent years.
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