The U.S. Department of Defense approved US Navy's plan to build a new Small Surface Combatant Ship (SSC) which is based on modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) on December 11.
The approval comes in as a result of persistent criticism about the cost and viability of the $34 billion littoral combat ship program, including design and construction problems and budget overruns. Earlier this year, Hagel cut the planned littoral ship buy from 52 to 32, and ordered a review of the program.
"The new SSC will offer improvements in ship lethality and survivability, delivering enhanced naval combat performance at an affordable price" said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Upgrading the littoral ship rather than developing a whole new ship design is most affordable, he added.
Hagel said the Navy will still buy a total of 52 ships, but it will be a mix of littoral combat ships and the new smaller surface vessels. The final numbers have not been determined.
The LCS was designed to be a modular and focused-mission platform specifically designed for mine-sweeping, surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare.
Navy must direct its future shipbuilding resources toward more multi-mission platforms that can operate in every region and across the full spectrum of conflict according to present fiscal climate and an increasingly volatile security environment, concluded Hagel after rigorous review and analysis.