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US Navy Destroyer Squadron commander touts LCS ‘hybrid' operations in Indo-Pacific

The multimission “hybrid” capability of the littoral combat ships (LCSs) have made them even more adaptable for Indo-Pacific missions, Captain Tom Ogden, commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven (DESRON 7), said on 11 June, speaking about LCS operations and naval integration in the region.

That hybrid capability represents a shift from the original operational concept for LCSs, which were meant to focus on a single mission such as surface (SUW), countermine (MCM) or anti-submarine (ASW) warfare, with the appropriate mission package, and switch-out equipment and personnel for one of the other missions.

“The ships have been married up to a specific mission package,” Capt Ogden said.

However, “The ships we have with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) installed and some [counter]mine [systems] installed – it's maybe a hybrid of the two. We can adapt it – it can accomplish both missions,” he added.

US Navy (USN) LCS programme officials say that even LCSs outfitted to do MCM and ASW missions will still have elements of surface warfare weaponry – like the NSMs – aboard.

The MCM-outfitted LCSs, Capt Ogden said, “can do a lot more than mine warfare. That's what we want. We want to keep them as adaptable as possible”.

Even the SUW-outfitted LCSs can do more than traditional SUW missions. For example, an LCS was used to transport US marines from one location to another for an exercise, Capt Ogden said.

“The marines were on a surface-mission package,” he said. “But I don't think it matters that much.”

There's more opportunity to marry marine and LCS missions, he added.

“As we look at marines and naval integration, we can do a lot with LCS,” he said. He cited the marines' interest in performing more ASW as a possible joint-operation mission.

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