The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship was supposed to be cheap, fast, flexible and easy to build.
But after spending $30 billion over a period of around two decades, the U.S. Navy has managed to acquire just 35 of the 3,000-ton-displacement vessels.
Sixteen were in service as of late 2018. Of those 16, four are test ships. Six are training ships. In 2019 just six LCSs, in theory, are deployable.
While that number should increase as the remaining ships in the class finally commission into service, the LCS's low readiness rate calls into question the wisdom of the Navy's investment in the type.
Indeed, the Navy in 2018 didn't deploy a single LCS, USNI News reported. "The service was supposed to push forward three ships in Fiscal Year 2018, after a 2016 overhaul of LCS homeporting, command and control and manning constructs."
"However, USNI News first reported in April 2018 that zero LCSs would deploy in [fiscal year] 2018. Since then, the Navy had not talked publicly about progress made towards getting ready to deploy its first LCSs since ships from a block-buy contract started delivering to the fleet at about four a year."