Israel's Littoral Combat Ship Program (LCS-I)

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Lockheed Martin continues its preliminary design work on a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) proposed to the Israeli Navy's (known as LCS-I). The company was awarded further $2.3 million funding for nine-month combat system configuration phase, producing the technical specification and acquisition cost package for the LCS-I combat system for the US and Israel Navy. This phase will examine the LCS with two radar systems, the advanced radar under development by Elta Systems division of Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) and the SPY-1F developed by Lockheed Martin. (More...)

Both systems will be examined using the COMBATSS-21 combat management system integrated with the Israeli Navy Command and Control (IC2) system and various weapon systems such as MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), Typhoon gun and Barak 8 missiles. Cost and high level integration requirements for multiple Israeli and U.S. sensor and weapon systems will also be examined.

Lockheed Martin received an initial contract from the Israeli Navy in February 2006 to perform a feasibility study for a multi-mission LCS variant. The study, successfully completed in April 2007, resulted in the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) decision to approve initial funding for two multi- mission ships currently based on an LCS-I design that would include anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-missile warfare missions, as well as special operations. Lockheed Martin is currently partnered with Rafael Armament Systems, Elbit Systems and Ness on LCS-I.

"The feasibility study successfully validated the capability of the Lockheed Martin LCS design to support the Israeli Navy's multi-mission requirements. LCS-I will provide the Israeli Defense Force a strategic asset, fully interoperable with the U.S. Navy, to support both asymmetric warfare and broader national security roles," said Joshua Shani, vice president of Lockheed Martin Israel Operations. "Lockheed Martin will continue to work closely with the Israeli Navy, the U.S. Navy and Israeli industry during the combat system configuration phase."

The Israeli LCS variant will be based on the Freedom class designed by Lockheed Martin for the US Navy. The ship uses a semi-planing steel monohull, which provides optimal maneuverability and seakeeping characteristics to support launch and recovery operations, mission execution and optimum crew comfort. Utilizing the flexible 'mission module' concept the LCS is designed as a versatile multi-mission platform. The vessel's propulsion system will be based on a combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) with steerable waterjets. The vessel's weapon systems could include the STANDARD Missile 2 or Barak 8 air defense missiles used for the primary defensive weapon, Boeing Harpoon II or IAI/Gabriel V used as the primary offensive weapons, and BAE Systems' MK 32 surface vessel torpedo tubes (SVTT) , to be used as a primary anti-submarine weapon, firing Mk 46 or Mk 50 torpedoes.

The first LCS built for the US Navy, LCS 1 Freedom is undergoing outfitting and testing at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, WI. The vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2008 and will be stationed at the San Diego naval base. The US Navy cancelled further acquisition of both Freedom class LCS, as well as the competing Independence class, due to substantial cost overruns incurred in the cost plus based program. Israel and Saudi Arabia are two potential customers for the LCS design, while the US Navy expressed its commitment to pursue further LCS acquisitions, it remained illusive about the specific platform and contractual tools to be pursued. The Navy wanted to move the program from cost plus basis to fixed price, in an attempt to control the escalating costs, blamed partially in a new design oversight concept and frequently changing requirements made by the Navy, which necessitated major changes late in the development program.



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