Feds raid LCS shipyard

If you’re not familiar with the LCS program (officially, the Littoral Combat Ship program, but the “Little Crappy Ship” to its critics), it’s kind of the Navy’s version of the F-35 fiasco.

Conceived as a way to get lots of smaller, cheaper hulls into the fleet to do the non-blue water ops (i.e. patrolling shorelines, dropping of special boat teams, providing amphibious landing support, etc), it instead bloomed into the usual over budget, behind schedule bag of broken promises we’ve become accustomed to with Pentagon projects. While they look good on camera, in reality, they’re flimsy, trouble-prone boats that are too lightly armed to be of much good in combat. There are constant issues with cracks in the hull and engine problems. And who the hell takes aluminum-hulled ships into combat anyway?

Despite the Navy’s proclamations that most problems have been licked and all is well (I know, stifle your laughter for a minute), problems are, shall we say, ongoing. And now federal agents have combed the shipyard at one of the contractors that makes the LCS series of ships, Austal Shipyards in Mobile Alabama.

“Department of Defense, NCIS and [the Defense Criminal Investigative Service] have been seen on site”

Little is being said other than this being for “financial issues”, so it sounds like some kind of contracting fraud. How bad is it when a military branch… who seems to have infinite patience for contractor hijinx… actually raids a contractor?

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10 thoughts on “Feds raid LCS shipyard”

  1. Very exciting!  Whatever it takes to shut down this farce and get us a real ship — I’m all for it.

    Caveat:  There are lots of great people doing great work etc, but this program was wrong from the start, and has proven wrong to this day.  And it costs us real ships, which COSTS LIVES.

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  2. Douglas:
    it’s kind of the Navy’s version of the F-35 fiasco.

    The F 35 is a navy fiasco. It’s a fiasco because the Navy sold the lie that they could make a vertical takeoff version for the Marines and a catobar version for the Navy.  The cost of integrating three versions seems greater than the cost of making three different aircraft. Plus the compromise to make the marine version turned  the Air Force version into a piece of garbage

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  3. You omitted  the magic words “mission modules“. This is navy speak for “we don’t learn from past mistakes“ please shoot us in the head.

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  4. Note that there are two very different LCS types. The Austal ships are aluminum trimarans. the FMM are steel monohulls with aluminum superstructure.

    Both are too small to be useful. For example they lack adequate defensive capabilities.

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  5. ctlaw:

    Douglas:
    it’s kind of the Navy’s version of the F-35 fiasco.

    The F 35 is a navy fiasco. It’s a fiasco because the Navy sold the lie that they could make a vertical takeoff version for the Marines and a catobar version for the Navy.  The cost of integrating three versions seems greater than the cost of making three different aircraft. Plus the compromise to make the marine version turned  the Air Force version into a piece of garbage

    I keep hearing the Navy would like to cancel their version, and that it’s the Marines that are the main driver on this in the Dept. of the Navy side. I’ve heard this is also one of the reason why the Marines now say that want some C versions in addition to the B: basically as pressure to keep the Navy from dropping out (and raising the per-unit price)

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  6. Douglas:

    ctlaw:

    Douglas:
    it’s kind of the Navy’s version of the F-35 fiasco.

    The F 35 is a navy fiasco. It’s a fiasco because the Navy sold the lie that they could make a vertical takeoff version for the Marines and a catobar version for the Navy.  The cost of integrating three versions seems greater than the cost of making three different aircraft. Plus the compromise to make the marine version turned  the Air Force version into a piece of garbage

    I keep hearing the Navy would like to cancel their version, and that it’s the Marines that are the main driver on this in the Dept. of the Navy side. I’ve heard this is also one of the reason why the Marines now say that want some C versions in addition to the B: basically as pressure to keep the Navy from dropping out (and raising the per-unit price)

    It may just be that the Marines are trying to preserve their current force structure with B replacing Harrier and C replacing Hornet.

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  7. I sailed once with an LCS—I forget which one—and it didn’t provide any use for the fleet. My understanding is that they were supposed to accomplish their missions on minimal manning due to basic areas of fighting the ship being automated. It is mostly computerized and faulty. I never understood the need for them.

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