US Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet drives up ship supply costs


by Michel Fabey

The US Navy wants to decommission nine Freedom-class littoral combat ships. (US Navy)

The US Navy’s (USN) fiscal year 2023 budget request includes a plan to eliminate the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission module from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and decommission nine Freedom-class LCS ships during the upcoming exercise, USN officials at a press conference March 28.

“The ASW mission module was not going to work,” Rear Admiral John Gumbleton, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, said during the briefing. In addition, he noted, the USN intended to rely on its future fleet of Constellation-class guided missile frigates (FFGs) to perform ASW missions.

“This is where you have to choose to take the risk,” he added.

The other deciding factor, he explained, was the money needed to fix the propulsion plant problems that have plagued the Freedom-class ships, recently halting delivery of new ships.

“The transmission chain fix was an exorbitant amount of money,” Rear Admiral Gumbleton said.

The service would also save money by focusing on maintaining the other LCS variant, the Independence-class ships, instead of trying to support both equally, it said. he noted.

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