Littoral Combat Ship: Deployment of USS Freedom Revealed Risks in Implementing Operational Concepts and Uncertain Costs
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Why GAO did this Study. The LCS was intended to be a low-cost surface combatant that uses innovative operational concepts, such as minimal crew size, to lower operations and support costs. In 2013, the Navy deployed USS Freedom, one of two LCS variants, to Singapore to prove its concept, demonstrate operational capabilities, and collect data on the ship s manning, training, maintenance, and logistics needs. The House report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 mandated that GAO analyze the Navy s sustainment plans for its LCS program including lessons from the USS Freedom deployment. This report addressed 1 the benefits and limitations of the operational data that have been collected on LCS ships 2 the extent to which the Navy has evaluated risk in its operational support and sustainment concepts for LCS and 3 how LCS life-cycle cost estimates compare with those for other surface-ship classes. GAO analyzed documents from the 2013 deployment, and LCS and surface-ship life-cycle costs, and interviewed program officials and USS Freedom crews. What GAO Recommends. GAO is emphasizing its prior recommendations that, before buying more LCS ships, the Navy 1 conduct and consider the results of a risk assessment and 2 collect additional data and update cost estimates. The Department of Defense expressed concerns that its life-cycle cost data are not comparable across ship types. GAO believes the analysis provides a reasonable comparison using the best available data from the Navy, as discussed in the report.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Marine Engineering