Austal gets modification for Littoral Combat Ship Class design services

The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded Austal a modification for Littoral Combat Ship Class design services. The deal also includes integrated data and product model environment (IDPME) support.

The IPDME will enable the Navy to access enterprise data management, visualization, program management applications, and network management and control. According to the Department of Defense external link, the company will provide efforts to support Littoral Combat Ship Class ships, including but not limited to technical analyses, non-recurring engineering, configuration management, software maintenance and development, production assessments, and diminishing manufacturing sources and seaframe reliability analysis.

The Littoral Combat Ship is a set of two classes of relatively small surface vessels designed for operations near shore by the US Navy. Work under the modification will take place in Alabama and Massachusetts and is scheduled to be complete by June 2025.

Exploit simplicity, numbers, the pace of technology development in electronics and robotics, and fast reconfiguration. That was the US Navy’s idea for the low-end backbone of its future surface combatant fleet. Inspired by successful experiments like Denmark’s Standard Flex ships, the US Navy’s $35+ billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program was intended to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that could operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes.

It hasn’t worked that way. In practice, the Navy hasn’t been able to reconcile what they wanted with the capabilities needed to perform primary naval missions, or with what could be delivered for the sums available. The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with both competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. Now, the program looks set to end early. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.