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US Navy prepares major surge of littoral combat ship deployments

The U.S. Navy is taking major steps in an attempt to shake off years of false starts and setbacks with the Littoral Combat Ship program, an effort Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said he’d oversee on his watch.

In an exclusive interview with Defense News on July 16, Gilday listed LCS as a major priority, saying he will turn up the heat on efforts to get the ship to become a major contributor to fleet operations.

“There are things in the near term that I have to deliver, that I’m putting heat on now, and one of them is LCS,” Gilday said. “One part is sustainability and reliability. We know enough about that platform and the problems that we have that plague us with regard to reliability and sustainability, and I need them resolved.”

“That requires a campaign plan to get after it and have it reviewed by me frequently enough so that I can be sighted on it. Those platforms have been around since 2008 — we need to get on with it. We’ve done five deployments since I’ve been on the job, we’re going to ramp that up two-and-a-half times over the next couple of years, but we have got to get after it,” he added. “LCS for me is something, on my watch, I’ve got to get right.”

Gilday’s renewed focus on LCS comes after years of fits and starts as the Navy struggled with almost every aspect of the complicated program: from manning and maintaining the hulls, to keeping the gear running or even fielding the sensor suites needed to perform the missions for which they were built.

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