The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship struggled in drills at sea to fend off a swarm of small attacking vessels like the Iranian boats it could encounter inI have extremely limited visibility on the LCS program and controversy but it does appear that the Freedom class of ships is the "favorite son" in this program.
the Persian Gulf, according to the Pentagon’s chief weapons
tester. The fast-attack boats were ultimately defeated by the USS
Coronado during three mock engagements in August and September
to test its guns and targeting gear. But in two exercises an
attacker came too close, penetrating the vessel’s “keep-out”
zone, Pentagon testing director Michael Gilmore said in his
annual report on major weapons submitted to congressional
defense committees. While Gilmore didn’t mention Iran as a threat, its Islamic
Revolutionary Guards operate small boats with crews trained for
swarming attacks in the contested waters of the Persian Gulf.
The Coronado’s “inability to defeat this relative modest threat
beyond ‘keep-out’ range routinely under test conditions raises
questions about its ability to deal with more challenging
threats,” Gilmore added.
Additionally this test proves what we basically knew (or at least I surmised) and that is the Coronado class isn't a streetfighter. But it could be a VERY adequate ship for the alternate mission set.
It appears (and I'm not sure) to be extremely capable of being mini-transports/assault ships. Experimentation to see exactly how Naval Special Operations (and by that I mean Navy SEALs and MARSOC) could use the ships and even plugging them into an Amphibious Ready Group to give the SOCOM bubba's their own ride seems like a good idea to me.
Think about it like this. You would have the firepower of the MEU to augment a Reinforced MARSOC platoon aboard a Coronado LCS that was attached to the ARG. They want high speed help and don't need the guns of the Battalion Landing Team, then they can attach the Maritime Raid Force and then sail away to do secret squirrel stuff.
Redesignating the Coronado Class as Special Ops Transports/Assault/Support Ships and building them into the ARG seems like the only reasonable solution...oh and we stop the buy of the Coronado with the ships already in hand and settle on the Freedom class (which they're basically doing anyway) for the original LCS mission.