This new type of warship brings a new concept to the Navy’s warfighting capabilities. Most Navy ships are designed to operate in deepwater environments, but this new class of ship is designed to operate in the littoral—that is, shallow—close-to-shore environments.
These sleek, fast, multi-dimensional warships are capable of delivering up-close-and-personal combat support and communications abilities to the wider fleet and carrier groups farther out to sea. They have both sea launch capabilities and can put small seaborne units like Navy Seals or Marine Corps reconnaissance teams ashore. They also have a hangar and flight deck to launch air support in the form of 2 MH Seahawk helicopters or 3 smaller close air support helicopters.
This ability to go closer to shore is what makes this new breed of ship unique. These littoral combat ships (LCS) are not like the bigger Navy cruisers or guided-missile destroyers.
One of the speakers in the video uses a recognizable, very modern, high tech metaphor to compare the bigger cruisers and DDGs to the LCSs. He says that the bigger cruisers and destroyers are like desktop computers and the new LCSs are like “smartphones” in comparison. The LCS is much more mobile, lighter, and more versatile, and it’s capable of operating in the more intimate littoral environments.
This video will give you some of the details about the design and capabilities of these new littoral combat ships.
These ships are still being developed with their own new generation of defensive and offensive weapons systems. They have the ability to focus lethality either ashore or at longer ranges at sea. They are versatile in their design in yet another way too. Up to 40% of the ship is reconfigurable space that can be modified for various specific purposes.
This video will take you onboard one of the ships, the USS Little Rock (LCS-9), so you can get a closer look at what their capabilities are. Enjoy.