21:29 GMT +310 December 2016
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    The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, and USS Coronado (LCS 4)

    McCain Threatens Cuts in US Navy Effort to Build Fleet of Small Combat Ships

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    John McCain warned that the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program faces the prospect of further cutbacks by Congress amid soaring costs and frequent breakdowns.

    WASHINGTON (2016) — The US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program faces the prospect of further cutbacks by Congress amid soaring costs and frequent breakdowns, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain warned during a hearing on Thursday.

    "Reducing the size of this program is a necessary first step and I’m prepared to go even further by taking a hard look at any further procurement of ships until all of the mission packages reach IOC [Initial Operational Capability]," McCain said.

    McCain delivered the threat to a panel representing the US Department of Defense and one of the program’s harshest critics, the US General Accountability Office’s (GAO) Managing Director for Acquisition and Sourcing Management Paul Francis.

    The US Navy has 26 ships of the 52 vessels originally planned at a cost of $220 million each when the program began in 2004.

    "The taxpayers have paid for and are still paying for 26 ships that have demonstrated next to no combat capabilities," McCain stated.

    In December, Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered the program capped at 40 ships, with the cost per ship having more than doubled to $478 million amid a series of breakdowns blamed on poor design and defective engineering.

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    Tags:
    littoral combat ships, US Government Accountability Office (GAO), John McCain, United States
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