What is the Littoral Combat Ship?
It's fast -- until it breaks down. It's small -- maybe too small to survive. It's innovative -- and highly controversial.
The Littoral Combat Ship program is building two types of high-speed, lightweight warships to hunt subs, sweep mines, and kill Iranian-style
fast attack boats. That frees up much larger and more expensive ships, such as cruisers and destroyers, for the most demanding missions, like missile defense. The two LCS designs are radically new ideas for the Navy: one's based on an Italian racing yacht, the other -- nicknamed "the Klingon Bird of Prey" for its strange appearance -- on an Australian trimaran. But their relatively fragile hulls and unreliable engines have earned them ferocious criticism in Congress. Now the Navy's racing to build an upgunned "frigate" version that adds ship-killing missiles -- on top of the same controversial hull.
How much does LCS really cost? How well does it really work? And how long will it survive if war breaks out with China? We tackle these questions and more in Storm-Tossed: The Controversial Littoral Combat Ship.