The failed drones were towed to port seven times, and the intense combat testing required for increased purchases has been delayed.
The US Navy had planned to spend $864 million on 54 drones from Lockheed, the biggest US contractor.
“Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, has scheduled a January 19 review of the drone’s reliability woes, the latest setback for the troubled Littoral Combat Ship program. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of combat testing, prepared a 41-page classified assessment dated November 12 for the review,” according to a Bloomberg report.
The drone failures apparently add to previous questions about “how much value the US will get from what’s now supposed to be a $23 billion program to build 32 Littoral Combat Ships in two versions made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed and Austal Ltd. based in Henderson, Australia. Both versions depend on the drones to detect mines from a safe distance.”