“In lieu of actual LCS data, the Navy used operations and support data from other surface ships, such as frigates, that were modified to approximate LCS characteristics to build the LCS cost estimate (referred to as modified analogous data),” GAO says. “For example, cost estimators used modified frigate data to estimate sustaining support costs such as munitions handling, and to estimate non-maintenance supplies and equipment costs. Maintenance estimates were calculated by modifying analogous data from frigates and destroyers, among other ships, even though their maintenance concepts differ from those of the LCS.”
Navy officials say that until they have actual operational data on both LCS seaframes, it is unknown whether the modified analogous cost data will reasonably correspond to actual LCS costs, according to GAO. The officials added that the seaframe estimate cannot be updated further without additional actual LCS operations and support data, including lessons learned from the USS Freedom’s ongoing Singapore deployment. Navy liaison Lt. Caroline Hutcheson says obtaining the needed data is one of the most important elements of Freedom’s deployment.
But the issue is more than just the ships, GAO says. “In contrast to the lack of actual data for the seaframes, Navy officials told us that some portions of the mission modules such as sonar systems, guns, and missiles are used on other ships and cost estimators have actual operational data on which to base their estimates. However, not all mission modules have been operationally deployed overseas on an LCS ship, which raises uncertainties as to whether the modified analogous cost data will reasonably correspond to actual LCS costs.”