December 02, 2017

Past Problems Can't Stop the U.S. Navy From Building a New Frigate

By Jerry Hendrix

The United States Navy should not take council from its fears when it comes to the design of its new frigate. While it is true that technical challenges and cost overruns associated with the Ford-class supercarrier, Zumwalt-class destroyer, and the Freedom- and Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) (which admittedly are not having cost issues) have been significant and almost crippling, the Navy should not allow itself to be so consumed by these failures that it takes a “safest path” approach to its new guided missile frigate design.

Earlier this week the Naval Sea Systems Command issued a talking points memothat promoted the achievements of both LCS classes, complete with highly complementary quotes from senior Navy admirals—including Fleet Forces Commander Phillip Davidson, who is perhaps the Navy’s strongest candidate to be the next Pacific Commander. Near the end of the talking points, the memo suddenly rapidly shifts its focus to the Navy’s new guided missile frigate program. The structure of the memo suggested a natural link between the LCS ships—which the memo promoted as “ninja warriors”—and the new frigates, and carried more than just a hint that perhaps the new frigate should, in fact, be a derivative of one of the current LCS designs.

Read the full commentary in The National Interest.

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