The concept that led Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England (Bush Jr administration from 2001 to 2003) to give birth to the Littoral Combat Ships in the early 2000s was innovative, to say the least: rather than having to build several specialized ships in different types of mission, it was sufficient to rely on a modular structure allowing the dynamic integration of the capacities required on demand, in the form of complementary modules integrating the technology and equipment required for the mission. In fact, the LCS had to be able, by changing modules, to perform alternately and effectively anti-submarine warfare, surface combat, mine warfare or sovereignty missions, depending on the onboard modules, the list is obviously not exhaustive. Like the F35 in the field of combat aircraft, the LCS should therefore be able to replace both the OH Perry frigates and the Avenger class mine hunters. But that was the theory ...
As for the practice, it came up against this rather ambitious vision of Secretary England, when it became evident that the design of the modules generated very significant costs. What is more, it appeared just as quickly that the management of the skills on board was going to prove to be more complex for the US Navy, an anti-submarine warfare operator not being a specialist in mine warfare, nor an operator of electronic or cyber warfare, forcing the Navy to imagine the principle of 3: 2: 1, namely 3 crews for 2 ships including 1 at sea, without resolving the basic problems, in particular the technological dead ends to which confronted the design of the modules which were based, probably too early in the state of technology, on many robotic and autonomous systems. In the end, in 2016, the American naval authorities announced that they were abandoning the modular principle that formed the backbone of the LCS, finding themselves in fact with a growing fleet but lacking advanced operational capabilities.
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