Navy Ships to Return to the Drug War

USS Freedom (LCS-1)

The US Naval Institute reports, “SECNAV Memo: Navy Won’t Reactivate Perry Frigates for SOUTHCOM Mission; Will Send Ships to Fight Drug War in 2018.”

The Navy has not been providing ships in support of the SouthCom drug interdiction mission since the last USN Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate was decommissioned in 2015, but it looks like the Navy will return to the mission.

SecNav has directed the Navy provide four ship years in the form of either LCS or Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transports (T-EPF)(formerly called the Joint High Speed Vessel).. In addition, they will be bringing with them an unmanned air system, probably Scan Eagle.

They will certainly need Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments aboard, but the mention of Scan Eagle makes me wonder about the aviation support planned. No mention of helicopter or the larger MQ-8 UAS. Are they going to want a Coast Guard Airborne Use of Force helicopter detachment?

The Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) (Now T-EPF-1)conducted high-speed trials, reaching speeds of approximately 40 knots off the coast of Virginia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Phil Beaufort/Released) 130820-N-ZO696-135

7 thoughts on “Navy Ships to Return to the Drug War

  1. With the Fire Scout Bravo in-service and the Charlie model being produced to replace it. It sure seems like the USCG should be looking to the Bravos?

    • when it comes to drones, why dose the USCG need their own. Why not piggy back off navy, and let them operate them?

      What would be the pros and cons?

      • Might as well say why do we need our own ships and aircraft–different mandates and priorities and it seems supporting the Coast Guard is near the bottom of the Navy’s priority list. (In fairness, it frequently seems being a prepared naval reserve force is at the bottom of the CG’s priority list.)

        The Coast Guard’s budget should pay for the Coast Guard’s missions. We should not expect the Navy to come to our rescue.

  2. There is something ironic here: counter drug operations are seeing by the Navy as the one of a few missions which LCS could perform without her modules.

    In a way, the Navy is admitting the failure of the LCS program.

    On the other hand, the Coast Guard has much better frigates (NSC and OPC) than the Navy and in some more years, in relevant numbers. NSC have became a very successful program with increasing numbers being built.

    So, in the foreseeable future, the LCS won’t be so necessary for counter drug operations. And, properly armed, which is not so difficult, NSC and OPC could perform a frigate role much better than the LCS. And at a much lower development and operation cost.

    • What I don’t understand is that we are still building LCS’s when the first one was commissioned 10 years ago, and still not combat ready. They are truly putting the cart before the horse.
      The NSC had problems, but they got fixed early on. And it’s now a mature and capable platform ready for the next level. 10 Years, and still not fit for combat!!! They need to suspend, and cancel the whole LCS program and cut their losses as lesson learned.

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