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Surface Navy 2022: US Navy hones LCS mission sets and maintenance needs

The USN sees a great deal of utility in the large flight decks on Littoral Combat Ships. (Michael Fabey)

As the US Navy (USN) builds up its inventory of Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), the service is reframing operational concepts and maintenance plans for the unique fleet of ships, according to Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, commander of both the Naval Surface Forces and the Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet.

The USN is establishing an LCS mission set outside the traditional carrier strike group (CSG) paradigm, as well as moving away from the contractor-heavy maintenance model towards a more forward-deployed sailor-centric plan, Vice Adm Kitchener noted on 7 January during a media roundtable prior to the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which starts on 11 January in Arlington, Virginia.

He said that LCSs were doing different missions than what they were designed for. Navy officials reached out to fleet commanders with specific questions on LCS mission sets: β€œWhat do you want it to do? What missions do you want them to execute, based on the [current] environment?”

Based on the answers, the USN began to focus on LCS abilities to conduct anti-submarine warfare, countermine operations, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, he added.

The ships also proved to be useful for performing missions associated with the US Marine Corps Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, Vice Adm Kitchener pointed out, as well as drug interdiction operations for the Southern Command.

β€œWe took the mission sets we got from commanders,” he said. β€œWe've re-established what we certify these ships to and changed the way to prepare them and certify them. We continue to evolve it.”

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