Some highly anticipated changes to the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program were finally revealed on Thursday with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directing the Navy “to move forward with a multi-mission small surface based on modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) hull designs.”
The new strategy instructs the Navy to buy 20 of the modified vessels on top of the 32 LCS ships already planned.
The multi-mission small surface combatant (SSC), as the modified ships are known, are advertised as being more lethal and survivable than the current LCS, and because the designs will be based primarily on the existing hulls being built by Austal USA and Lockheed Martin, the planned upgrades will only add about $75 million to the price of each ship, an increase of about 20 percent based on the current price tag of $360 million.
So, how exactly will the new SSC’s stack up against the current Independence-class and Freedom-class LCS’s currently being built? These infographics, obtained and published by USNI News, explain what’s currently being planned (click images for larger):
Above: Independence-Class – An aluminum-hulled trimaran being built by Austal USA and at their shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
Above: Freedom-Class – A steel monohulled version being built by Lockheed Martin at Marinette Marine Corporation’s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Illustrations: U.S. Navy via USNI News