As a participant at the 2018 Austal LCS Supplier Day (January 30-31), SSI USA Director of Operations Patrick Roberts met with US Senators and House Representatives to discuss the upcoming FY2018 and FY2019 Department of Defense Budget in support of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program.
SSI supplies ShipConstructor software to Austal USA, the builder of the Independence Class of LCS. The Freedom Class of LCS ships, by Fincantieri Marinette Marine, is also designed using SSI’s software.
Roberts and the other industry representatives noted that the LCS/Frigate program provides a replacement for 77 ships (frigates, coastal mine hunters and mine countermeasure ships) that have recently been decommissioned or are set to retire by 2021.
They noted that the program is maturing with each ship delivered and that the Navy is now benefiting from reduced cost. The Navy’s upcoming frigates will be a more lethal and survivable modification of the LCS and will leverage the existing production line. Therefore, it would be advisable to continue smooth production and not disrupt the supply chain of over 700 suppliers in 40 states.
In particular, as an industrial engineer, Patrick Roberts pointed out the lack of efficiency that would result from not fully funding the US Navy’s proposal for building three Littoral Combat Ships per year.
“Slowing down production of the current LCS program ultimately costs the taxpayer more money in ship production and cascades a significant negative economic impact across the US supplier base,” said Roberts. “Above all, it lessens the Navy’s ability to project presence, power and enhance global security with a ship product line that they not only want, but that they desperately need.”