Navy taps Lockheed to develop LCS frigate's combat management system

The $68 million deal calls for hardware and software work as part of the Littoral Combat Ship program.

The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $68 million contract to develop hardware and software for the Combat Management system of the frigate increment of the service’s Littoral Combat Ship program.

Littoral Combat Ships, which are being built in two variants, are relatively small vessels intended to operate close to shore. The frigates would be versions that are more combat-ready. They are also designed to combat threats such as mines and quiet-running diesel submarines while performing ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) duties.

Development of the program has run into controversy, including some criticism from the Government Accountability Office, and the breakdown of the LCS Milwaukee, likely the result of software issues, late last year.

Nevertheless, the Navy has pushed forward with the LCS program. While Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in 2015 bthe program would be cut from 52 ships to 40, the Navy said this spring that it wanted to move up an award for its frigate version from 2019 to 2018.

Lockheed’s work on the new contract is expected to be completed by June 2021. If all options on the deal are exercised, the contract could be worth up to $79.6 million.