US to transfer 4 Littoral Combat Ships to Greece Navy to counter Turkey.

US to transfer 4 Littoral Combat Ships to Greece Navy to counter Turkey.

Merchant Navy News January 2024 Navy Forces Maritime Defense Industry

According to information published by the US DOS on January 27, 2024, The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic has received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken proposing the transfer of up to four littoral combat ships to Greece under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Wichita. 

The U.S. Navy’s introduction of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) represents a significant shift in naval warfare. Focusing on operations in near-shore environments. The designers have created the LCS, a class of small surface vessels, to counter anti-access and asymmetric threats in coastal zones by making them networked, agile, and stealthy.tealthy. However, the effectiveness of these ships in their designated roles has been subject to debate.

Comparable to corvettes in other navies, the LCS comes in two variants: the Freedom class and the Independence class. These ships are slightly smaller than the Navy’s former Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates but larger than Cyclone-class patrol ships.

The vessel has a flight deck and hangar to accommodate two SH-60 or MH-60 Seahawk helicopters. It also has a stern ramp for small boats and can transport a small assault force. Including vehicles to roll-on/roll-off port facilities. Its standard armament consists of Mk 110 57 mm guns and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles. Additionally, it is equipped with autonomous air, surface, and underwater vehicles.

The LCS emphasizes speed, modular mission capabilities, and a shallow draft over destroyers’ air defence and surface warfare capabilities. The first LCS, USS Freedom (LCS-1), was commissioned in 2008, followed by the trimaran USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2010.

LCS missions largely rely on carried vehicles, like helicopters and uncrewed vehicles, to perform mine hunting and anti-submarine operations. However, a 2010 Pentagon report raised concerns about the survivability of the LCS in hostile combat environments. In response, the Navy emphasized the ships’ speed and automation for damage control, with plans for the crew to abandon the ship if necessary.

Despite these concerns, the LCS is not intended for front-line combat. But rather for missions like minesweeping, patrolling, and partnership-building exercises under the cover of more capable warships.

The LCS employs a unique 3:2:1 manning concept to achieve greater operational flexibility and reduce crew sizes compared to traditional deployment practices. While the LCS cannot defend against anti-ship cruise missiles effectively, its ability to operate in shallow waters offers tactical advantages in coastal zones.

Issues

Despite its innovative design, the LCS has faced several operational challenges. Rear Admiral Samuel Perez’s 2012 report expressed concerns about the ships’ ability to meet the demands of regional combatant commanders, particularly against well-armed adversaries.

The physical design of the Independence-class LCS, with its wide beam. They also noted that it could potentially cause navigational issues in narrow waterways and harbors.

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