Saturday, September 11, 2010

US defends early deployment of littoral combat ship

The US Navy (USN) has said that bringing forward the deployment of the first littoral combat ship (LCS) by two years did not significantly delay the ship programme's testing schedule.

Findings from a recent US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report claimed that the early February deployment of USS Freedom (LCS 1), along with a combination of major subsystem failures, had delayed the testing schedule for the first-in-class ship by three years.

However, the USN refuted this in a 7 September statement to Jane's that said the impact on testing was minimal. It said: "Given the deployment lasted six months, completion of the LCS 1 test programme was extended by approximately six months. Any delays to the overall post delivery testing plan were offset by the extensive depth and breadth of knowledge gained during deployment."

The navy added: "Early deployment brought LCS operational issues to the forefront much sooner than under the original schedule, some of which would not have been learnt until two years on."

During its deployment, Freedom operated in drug interdiction missions assigned to US Southern Command and had a role in the 2010 'Rim of the Pacific' exercises off the coast of Hawaii.

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