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Can the US Navy make lemonade out of LCS lemons?

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship program endured another round of budget cuts this year to its mission modules, but all is not gloom for the Navy’s small surface combatants.

The service has made progress on fielding new ship-killing capabilities, demonstrated the ability to autonomously detect and then destroy a mine, and has accepted delivery of key components of the anti-submarine warfare package.

And, perhaps most importantly, the LCS have begun to deploy again after an 18-month hiatus, and they are making a contribution to the over-taxed Pacific Fleet. In November, the LCS Gabrielle Giffords conducted a close pass of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, the first freedom-of-navigation operations conducted by an LCS since the ships began deploying again in July.

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