One of the justifications (after the fact, of course) for the LCS, according to Navy leadership, is that it’s small enough and simple enough to have more in common with many of the navies that we interact with. Supposedly, these countries are intimidated by our larger ships and the small and relatively harmless LCS is something they can better relate to and interact with.
Of course, this brings up obvious questions like what interactions are we having that require other countries to feel warm and fuzzy about our ships? Are we handing over the keys on the weekends? Why do we care how other countries feel about our ships? They’re not operating them, so who cares?
Seriously, do we really want to dumb down our fleet so that countries with tiny navies can feel good about themselves? Do we really want a significant portion of our combat fleet to be geared towards the least common denominator of our ally’s navies? Is there a problem with having major combat vessels that other countries don’t have?
Now don’t get me wrong. If we want to build some small patrol vessels for co-operative, feel-good exercises, that’s fine, although the LCS is still not the right choice, even for that. But, to convert a quarter to a third of our combat fleet to the LCS because other countries might feel intimidated is an absurd idea. Other countries, friend and foe alike, are supposed to feel intimidated. That’s how we know we have a good Navy!
This particular justification for the LCS is pure, unadulterated public relations drivel that the Navy is trying to substitute for the real justifications that they’ve failed to meet.
As a parting thought, perhaps other countries with a tiny, insecure navy should give some thought to devoting a bit more of their GDP to building a navy with some teeth (again, the LCS isn’t the model of how to do that) and shoulder a bit more of their own defense responsibilities rather than rely on the US to do it for them. ComNavOps is looking squarely at you,
(0.8% GDP vs 4.5% Philippines and 2.5% world average – Wikipedia, “List of countries by military expenditures”). US