Letter to the Editor, Seapower
The key to enhancing the flexibility and responsiveness of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), as discussed in Richard Burgess’s article (“Fast Swap,” February issue), is in the integration of both shipboard systems and modules. The real challenge for the LCS program is not in getting the parts (unmanned vehicles, sensors and weapons systems) right, but rather in the ability to design and implement a true “plug-and-play” capability for idfferent modules.
What this requires is the complete and seamless integration of all shipboard and module-based systems. If this can be done, then all the ships, modules and systems will be able to interact and connect, creating a true network. It is worth taking the time to get the systems right and ensure that the connections all work. Naval Sea Systems Command should resist pressures to add more requirements on LCS or to make the modules more complex.
Moreover, if the Navy achieves its goals for LCS, it will have far more than just the ability to do a “fast swap” of LCS modules. It will have created the basis of a fully functional naval network, one that can be extended to the rest of the fleet.
According to a Navy source cited by Burgess, there is going to be a lot of commonality between a new LCS module being designed for the global war on terror and surface warfare packages. It should not be difficult to enable modules to connect with other modules or warfare packages. The result will be, in essence, an integrated network.
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