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Meet the Littoral Combat Ship: the United States Navy's $500 million warship

Written by Rafaela Fabris
Published 18/06/2024 às 12:01
Meet the Littoral Combat Ship: the United States Navy's $500 million warship
In the world of maritime defense, the United States Navy has invested in ships designed to operate close to coasts. One example is the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), an agile and fast ship designed to face modern threats such as missile boats, small submarines and mines. This ship represents a significant advancement in the United States Navy's combat capability. Image: US Military News/Disclosure

In the world of maritime defense, the United States Navy has invested in ships designed to operate close to coasts. One example is the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), an agile and fast ship designed to face modern threats such as missile boats, small submarines and mines. This ship represents a significant advancement in the United States Navy's combat capability.

The LCS program began in 2003, when the Navy launched its first experimental ship, the Sea Fighter. The aim was to replace old patrol ships and minesweepers that were at the end of their useful lives. Two companies, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, presented different projects, which were both funded to create two variants of the LCS. The first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (LCS-1), was commissioned in 2008.

LCS is designed to be fast, flexible and modular. This means it can be equipped with different weapons systems and sensors as needed. It is capable of operating independently or as part of a larger force in high threat environments. Despite facing criticism for delays and high costs, the LCS remains a centerpiece of the U.S. Navy's coastal combat strategy.

The Littoral Combat Ship is equipped with a variety of weapons and defense systems, including:

110mm Mk 57 Weapon System: Can fire up to 220 rounds per minute.

Naval Strike Missile (NSM): With a range of more than 185 km, this missile increases the LCS's attack capacity.

Rolling Airframe Missile System (RAM): Used for defense against anti-ship missiles.

CIWS Cannon System: A high rate of fire cannon for close defense.

Despite its advanced capabilities, the LCS program has faced much criticism.

Some experts question the ship's lack of firepower and durability in combat. Problems with communication and integration systems were also highlighted. Furthermore, the United States Navy has found it difficult to justify the high construction and maintenance costs of these ships.

The Navy continues to work on improving LCS capabilities. Recently, new government-supplied combat systems and equipment have been tested to improve ship readiness for maritime missions. One of the most notable advances is the testing of the SM-6 supersonic missile, which could significantly increase the LCS's strike capability.

The Littoral Combat Ship represents a significant investment in the coastal combat capability of the United States Navy. Costing approximately $500 million per unit, these ships are designed to confront modern threats and protect American interests in coastal waters. Although they face challenges and criticism, LCS remain a vital part of American naval strategy, with continuous upgrades to maintain their effectiveness on the battlefield.

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Rafaela Fabris

Talks about innovation, renewable energy, oil and gas. Updates daily on opportunities in the Brazilian job market.

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