The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship that was headed for the scrapyard, is getting a fresh chance to sail, thanks to one of its namesake city’s members of Congress.
Rep. Kay Granger, Texas Republican, was able to cobble together a deal on Capitol Hill that saved the Fort Worth and four of its sister ships from being stricken from the Navy’s rolls, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Assuming the provision survives in the law, the ships would be saved despite deep doubts in the Navy that the Fort Worth and her sisters can serve a useful role in confronting a major adversary such as China.
The provision is in the fiscal year 2023 defense bill, which is scheduled to be considered this week by the House Appropriations Committee. Ms. Granger is the senior Republican on the committee.
“I am glad to see continued bipartisan support for preventing several Littoral Combat Ships, including the USS Fort Worth, from being decommissioned,” she said, according to the Star-Telegram.
The USS Wichita, USS Billings, USS Indianapolis, and the USS St. Louis are the other littoral combat ships that were saved by the deal. The USS Fort Worth was commissioned in 2012 and is the oldest of the ships in the measure, according to the Star-Telegram.
“As China continues to grow its Navy, we cannot afford to decrease our capabilities in the name of short-sighted cost savings,” Ms. Granger said.
The littoral combat ships have been plagued with problems for several years. They were initially conceived as warships that could be easily reconfigured to accomplish a variety of missions, such as anti-mine warfare and submarine hunting. That plan proved to be unworkable, however.
The Pentagon initially said it wanted to slash nine of the controversial ships from the fleet — including the USS Fort Worth. Defense Department officials said the small, speedy ships were fine for close-in fighting against lightly armed adversaries such as pirates or terrorists, but they wouldn’t be able to stand up to near-peer nations such as China or Russia.
The measure from Ms. Granger also tells the Navy to find other uses for the LCS ships.
“It’s a misuse of money, first of all, and a lack of taking the time to understand what this ship can do,” the lawmaker told the newspaper.