The Pentagon’s 2023 budget proposal calls for retiring 24 ships to make way for more expensive vessels. All nine of the Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) would be among those scrapped.
The LCS program has been plagued with issues. The most serious are failures in the population system. Last year, a major defect was found in the transmission, causing new ship deliveries to be halted. The frequent issues have led to the nickname “little crappy ships.”
Many of the Freedom-class crafts to be cut are the newest in the American fleet, with five ships commissioned in the past four years. Rear Adm. John Gumbleton, the Navy’s budget chief, said the decision to scrap the vessel was a money-saving move.
“A piece of that was our choice going after decommissioning vessels that were very expensive to maintain,” he said. The 24 ships would generate savings of “$3.6 billion across the budget that I can reinvest.”
The Pentagon was planning to buy six additional Freedom-class LCSs. It is unclear if the projects will be terminated. Five cruisers, four landing dock ships, two submarines, two oilers, and two expeditionary transfer docks will also be retired.
The Navy is looking to add more nuclear-powered ships like Ford-class aircraft carriers and Columbia-class submarines. The new DoD budget would bring the total number of ships down from 298 to 280.
However, Congress may reject the Pentagon’s suggestion to remove the ships from service. For example, the DoD’s past efforts to eliminate the A-10 program were removed from the budget during the legislative process.
Even if the ships are cut, American taxpayers will not see savings. The White House plans a $30 billion increase in war spending in 2023.