In November last year, six US based companies were awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command a firm-fixed-price contract worth $500,000 for the performance of focused-mission ship concept studies intended to explore a range of approaches in an overall effort to define future ship requirements. These studies will further refine the US Navy's requirements and knowledge of technology options for the proposed Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and other future ship classes. This is a part of the Naval services transformation into the 21st Century and lays the foundation for future warships.
The companies - Bath Iron Works, Gibbs & Cox, John J. McMullen Associates, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Textron Systems; each perform a 90-day ship concept study to research innovative concepts for a focused-mission, high-speed ship. The focused-mission ship to be studied is envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals. Its primary missions would be prosecution of small boats, mine-countermeasures, and littoral anti-submarine warfare. The LCS will complement the future multi-mission ships DD(X) and CG(X) and be smaller with new hull forms, propulsion variants and modular design. It will carry UAVs, UCAVs, UUVs, USVs and other sensors and act as a shooter. Revolutionary advances in propulsion, materials and hull forms are being incorporated into transformational design concepts for the LCS. It will have superior speed, maneuverability, sea-keeping, signature and payload modularity to perform focused or special missions in the littorals.