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Surface Navy 2022: US Navy sees LCS as complement to LAW concept

US marines have begun to use Littoral Combat Ships for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. (US Navy)

The US Marine Corps would be able to use both Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) and the proposed Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) for the marines' Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), according to Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, commander of both the Naval Surface Forces and the Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet.

“They complement each other very well,” Vice Adm Kitchener said on 7 January during a media roundtable prior to the Surface Navy Association National Symposium, which starts on 11 January in Arlington, Virginia.

The LAW, a new ship concept being proposed by the US Marine Corps (USMC), would be a small, relatively light and affordable ship designed to move marines and their gear quickly to and from small outposts as outlined in the USMC EABO plan.

However, according to some defence analysts, the US Navy wants a more survivable – and therefore, more expensive – platform than what the marines had in mind.

As the LAW design is being worked out, marines have started to use LCSs for EABOs in exercises, and will likely do so in the future, Vice Adm Kitchener noted.

“LAW is going to be able to move people and things around,” he said. “LCS can do that. LCS can also be in different places with different packages that are tactically relevant – with a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] or UUV [unmanned undersea vehicle]. I do think they're going to become a viable platform to support those kinds of missions alongside of LAW. You kind of need a little bit of both.”

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