The U.S. Navy might have to give up on acquiring 52 littoral combat ships and reduce the number to 40 and decide on only one shipbuilder.
U.S Defense Secretary Ash Carter told this to the Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a December 14 memo, first reported by Defense News.
Carter said that the funds saved from reducing the number of ships should go into the acquisition of more F/A-18 and F-35 aircraft, more SM-6 surface-to-air missiles, and more investment in the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) development for future Virginia-class submarines.
It has been argued that boosting the number of ships came at the expense of “critically needed investments in areas where adversaries are not standing still.”
These areas, besides electronic warfare and other capabilities include ship survivability, an issue addressed by many Navy officials and experts who claimed that the littoral combat ships lacked warfare capabilities.
The memo also said that in the upcoming RMD the Department of Defense would allocate further $1.7 B to help the Navy with investing in the proposed upgrades and acquisitions.
Concluding the memo, Carter said: “.. ship count alone is a poor measure of the effectiveness of the force. With the rebalance laid out in this memo, our fleet will not only be larger and more effective than it is today; it will also be equipped with the weapons and capabilities it needs to win any potential war.”