Defying the Obama administration’s emphasis on defense cuts, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) urged the U.S. Navy to build more large warships today, saying that they are necessary to maintaining American defenses against new threats.
Building too few large ships, at too slow a pace and with too few competing contractors, could threaten the industry that allows the U.S. Navy to maintain its qualitative edge, she said.
U.S. Navy officials have worked hard in recent years to increase the current number of 285 ships in the Navy’s fleet to a targeted goal of 313, but Collins expressed concern that they were relying too much on planned purchases of 55 smaller littoral combat ships built by Lockheed Martin Corp and Australia’s Austal to reach the targeted number.
“They need to take a look at it,” Collins told Reuters after her speech. “Clearly the littoral combat ships can play a very important role in anti-piracy efforts and anti-smuggling and in shallow waters … but there are questions about survivability and about whether they can handle multiple missions,” she said.
“The numbers matter. But capability matters also,” she said.