The US Navy ended nearly a year of speculation on Dec. 11 about what form the new small surface combatant would take with the announcement that it would move ahead with variants of both littoral combat ship designs.
But that was only the beginning of a process to turn those ideas into a formal ship development and procurement program. Now, the holidays are over, and the service is getting to work.
“We’re standing up a program office for the small surface combatant,” Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition official, told reporters Jan. 7. “The program office for the small surface combatant will be inside the program office for LCS,” working under Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, the LCS program executive at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
No date has been set to start up the effort. “But we’re working it, it’s high priority,” he said.
“We’ve gone from ‘here’s the concept,’ now we have to go through the formal requirements review board … to define requirements in terms of updating the capabilities document,” Stackley explained.
“We’ve got go through systems selections. We’ve said we’re going to have an over-the-horizon surface-to-surface missile, now we have to go through and define the specific requirements to lead to a system selection that will then lead to the technical data packages,” he said.
The acquisition strategy for the new ship — dubbed the modified LCS — is still in development.
“I would just say we’re working the details,” Stackley said. The document, about 80 pages long, will “lay out everything from the terms and conditions you’re going to put into contracts, how you’re going to compete it, what your small business plan is, all the details.”