Wednesday, January 23, 2019

LPD Flight II, better than anticipated...

via USNI News.
In an attempt to address a “capacity problem” in the amphibious ship fleet, the head of expeditionary warfare wants to accelerate the construction of new amphibious assault ships and stop a lengthy upgrade program for the aging LSDs to return them to fleet operations.

The aging Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships (LSD-41/49) will be replaced on a one-for-one basis with the much more capable San Antonio-class Flight II LPDs, once those are built and start to deliver in the 2020s. Until then, though, Maj. Gen. David Coffman, the director of expeditionary warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N95), wants to stop trying to bring the LSDs up in capability and instead return them to the fleet to do what they’re good at: hauling a lot of stuff.

Congress pushed on the Navy a modernization plan for its cruisers and LSDs; for the amphibs, it called for taking three LSD hulls, putting them in reduced operational status until they could undergo major upgrades to the command, control, communications, computers, collaboration and intelligence (C5I), and then bringing them back to the fleet with an extended service life and greater warfighting capability. The combat credibility of the LSDs was in question, as amphibious ships now mostly operate in a distributed manner but the LSDs cannot operate as independently as the LPDs, which have a much more robust command and control system, medical facilities and other key capabilities.

With a better-than-anticipated replacement on the horizon with the LPD Flight II design, Coffman said last week at the Surface Navy Association’s annual national symposium that he wants to ditch the LSD modernization plan, use the ships now as trucks to carry people and gear, and focus resources on the LPD Flight II replacement program.
Story here. 

One question.  What's going on with the LX(R)??  I thought that was the replacement for the LSD.  Did I miss a change in plans?

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