The Navy’s expeditionary fast transport (EPF) and littoral combat ship (LCS) have a lot in common. They both have extraordinary internal volume, modularity, high speed and shallow draft.
Those attributes in littoral and expeditionary scenarios
can provide unique expeditionary capability, and do it
quickly. Together, they may offer greater effectiveness to
While there have been changes in the original
52-ship program, LCS — which has been redesignated
a fast frigate, or FF, moving forward — still will be
procured in significant numbers.
“We now have six ships of this class delivered,
18 currently on contract and two additional ships
to award this fiscal year,” Secretary of the Navy Ray
Mabus said about the LCS in his 2016 posture state-
ment given March 1 to Congress. “We are currently
upgrading the design, which will significantly increase
LCS lethality and survivability, to be introduced no
later than FY19 [fiscal year 2019], and potentially
as early as FY18. Because of these ships’ enhanced
counter-surface and counter-submarine capabilities,
contributing to their role in Battle Group operations,
The fiscal 2016 budget funds
construction of 14 LCSs across the
Department of the Navy’s Future
Years Defense Program from 2016
to 2020, the last five of which are
of modified FF configuration. The
modified configuration program
begins in fiscal 2019, with no gap
from earlier LCS production.
The modified LCS is intended
to provide improvements in ship
lethality and survivability, delivering enhanced naval combat performance at an affordable price.
The Navy plans to acquire 10
EPFs. In fiscal 2016, Congress provided funding for a
12th EPF, and the Navy currently is issuing a request
for proposals for construction of EPF 11 and 12.
As more ships of both types join the fleet, there are
greater opportunities to take advantage of what they
can do together.
LCS is a focused mission combatant designed and
built to counter the asymmetric threats of mines,
submarines and surface vessels in the littoral regions
of the world. It is reconfigurable, with containerized
mission packages for mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare, with significant internal volume that gives the ship its combat
capability. The mission packages can be changed
as required to give the ship an entirely different
LCS is intended to provide operational flexibility to
dominate the littoral environment with a small, fast,
versatile ship, tailored for one of the three focused
missions, but with a core capability to perform a wide
variety of operations across the globe.
EPF, once known as the joint high-speed vessel, is
a commercial high-speed ferry adapted for the needs
From Blue to
Brown and Back
EPF and LCS can compound expeditionary capability
By EDWARD LUNDQUIST, Special Correspondent
Two ships with similar attributes of speed, volume and shallow
draft have significant opportunities to operate together.
n The littoral combat ship (LCS) is a focused mission combatant
designed and built to counter the asymmetric threats of mines,
submarines and surface vessels in the littoral regions of the world.
n The expeditionary fast transport (EPF) has the space to support the LCS and the speed to keep up.
n An EPF could provide an expeditionary alternative to a limited
number of forward operating bases by providing maintenance
support beyond the ability or capacity of the on-board LCS crew.