Unmanned Surface Vessels Counter the Threat of Mines
By George Jagels
The U.S. Navy’s most talked about acquisition program, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), is, at $500 million per vessel, relatively inexpensive for a modern warship. With a crew ranging in size from 50 to 88, the LCS is designed to control coastal areas with speed, diverse mission packages, and shallow draft that destroyers and cruisers lack. Littorals, however, can be very dangerous, and U.S. adversaries are adjusting their strategies to deny access to them. Regardless of the LCS’ lower cost and smaller crew, the Navy does not want to put ships at risk in the face of asymmetric threats.