The Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is envisioned as a reconfigurable vessel able to meet three missions: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. It consists of the ship (seaframe) and the mission package it carries and deploys. The Navy plans to invest over $25 billion through fiscal year 2035 to acquire LCS. However, recurring cost growth and schedule delays have jeopardized the Navy's ability to deliver promised LCS capabilities. Based on a congressional request, GAO (1) identified technical, design, and construction challenges to completing the first four ships within current cost and schedule estimates, (2) assessed the Navy's progress developing and fielding mission packages, and (3) evaluated the quality of recent Navy cost analyses for seaframes and their effect on program progress. GAO's findings are based on an analysis of government and contractor-generated documents, and discussions with defense officials and key contractors. This product is a public version of a For Official Use Only report, GAO-10-1006SU, also issued in August 2010.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To attain the level of knowledge needed to retire design risk and reduce construction disruptions, the Secretary of Defense should ensure changes identified in building and testing the first four ships are incorporated into the basic and functional design by the start of construction for future LCS seaframes.|
|Department of Defense||2. To provide a meaningful framework for evaluating seaframe and mission package performance, the Secretary of Defense should update the LCS test and evaluation master plan to (1) account for any early deployments of seaframes and the significant developmental challenges faced by key mission package systems and (2) identify alternative approaches for completing seaframe and mission package initial operational test and evaluation.|
|Department of Defense||3. To safeguard against excess quantities of ships and mission packages being purchased before their combined capabilities are demonstrated, the Secretary of Defense should update the LCS acquisition strategy to account for operational testing delays in the program and resequence planned purchases of ships and mission packages, as appropriate.|
|Department of Defense||4. To provide a sound basis for future LCS investment decisions, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that future LCS cost estimates--including the program life cycle cost estimate currently planned for milestone B--are well-documented, comprehensive, accurate, and credible.|