If the Navy is able to buy both variants of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) each will come with its own combat system. Some sources have suggested that this could be a problem for the Navy because it will have to manage two supply chains and sets of maintenance networks to support those combat systems.
Why is this an issue? The original LCS acquisition strategy was to procure both a significant number of both LCS variants, possibly half the total force objective of more than 50 hulls. So the idea of having to maintain parallel supply chains is nothing new.
The central design concept for the LCS is an open architecture to support “plug-and-play.” This certainly applies to the mission packages which consist of mission modules, mission crews and aerial vehicles. Both variants have common interfaces and power systems to support mission modules. Mission packages can be exchanged one for another; each can be deployed on either LCS variant. But commonality also applies to elements of the combat system such as the 57mm gun common to both variants.
Having two combat systems could be an advantage. The Navy can test components of each combat system and select the best for all future LCSs. Because of the requirement for an open architecture and standard interfaces on each variant, retrofitting older LCSs with new elements of the combat system should not be a problem.
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