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Surface Navy 2021: US Navy to test missile operations on LPDs to enhance sea control

The US Navy (USN) will be testing and reviewing the potential of added-missile capability on San Antonio-class LPD-17 landing platform dock vessels to gain better sea control, said US Marine Corps (USMC) Major General Tracy King, director of USN Expeditionary Warfare.

“LPDs need the ability to reach out and defend themselves and sink another ship, Maj Gen King said during a media discussion in advance of the virtual Surface Navy Association 2021 National Symposium, which begins on 11 January.

“It will drastically increase survivability, if the enemy has to honour that threat,” he said. The navy, he added, is making sure any such effort does not interfere with plans to increase lethality on Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs).

“Next year, we will probably test-fire a [missile] system off an LPD 17-class ship and let the fleet play around with it, and figure out the doctrine – figure out if it’s worth the expense. We think it is. We need the operators to confirm that.”

He noted he has already begun formal analysis on such a capability.

“There is legitimate concern about putting these systems on a Lima (LPD-1) class instead of another kind of warship,” he acknowledged. “In my mind’s eye, I see containerised weapon systems that the marine corps is using when we jump on board a ship becoming available to the ship’s captains. Maybe the marine corps can serve as the main battery as we’re moving out. That just makes sense.”

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