On top of all the changes that continue to ripple through the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program like the aftershocks that follow a major earthquake, OSD and the Navy have asked the two teams – one led by Lockheed Martin with Marinette Marine and the other by Austal and General Dynamics – to design a new LCS variant and compete for the contract in what can only be described as lightning speed. Initial analyses for a frigate only began in 2015 as part of then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s review of the LCS program. The Navy has announced that it plans to release a request for proposal (RFP) in late FY 2017 with an award in FY 2018. In essence, this means that the two teams, assuming both decide to compete, will have only two years to do their analyses, conduct all the trade studies, come up with a final design and price their proposal. What’s the rush? The Navy needs to slow down and take a more deliberate approach. I discuss this issue in some detail here.
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