The US Navy (USN) moved from an up-gunned Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) new frigate (FF) concept to a more-capable guided-missile frigate (FFG[X]) so the service could better face future threats. However, that potential is now being questioned.
Specifically, the ship’s “growth margin” for future changes is coming under scrutiny, with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) identifying that margin as a “potential oversight issue for Congress” in a recent report on FFG(X) programme development.
“The navy wants the FFG(X) design to have a growth margin [also called service life allowance] of 5%, meaning an ability to accommodate upgrades and other changes that might be made to the ship’s design over the course of its service life that could require up to 5% more space, weight, electrical power, or equipment cooling capacity,” the CRS noted in its 3 July report titled ‘Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress’, which was made publicly available on 9 July.
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