The goal of the Navy’s ongoing review for a small surface combatant vessel is aimed at getting the most possible capability out of the ships, and includes cost, increasing lethality and survivability and perhaps making them bigger than the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) the service is currently building, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said Tuesday.

The USS Coronado (LCS-4): Photo: U.S. Navy
The USS Coronado (LCS-4): Photo: U.S. Navy

Greenert said the review ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should be complete in the near future and the Navy still has “a few questions that we need to answer.” Greenert, speaking at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the questions are going to lethality, survivability, the possibility of adding an extension to the LCS hulls or taking a look at a new design.

“I am comfortable that what we have is good,” Greenert said, referring to the LCS. “The question is what do you want to do? How do you get the most out of those last 20 ships?”

Hagel earlier this year said he was altering the Navy’s plan to buy 52 Littoral Combat Ships, scaling the number back by 20 ships and instructing the Navy to look at alternatives for the small surface combatant requirement. That could include LCSs with more firepower to make it more capable, or another type of ship all together.

The Navy is currently buying the LCS in two forms, the Lockheed Martin [LMT] mono-hull variant and the Austal USA trimaran version. The Pentagon has been keeping a tight lid on the results of the task force preliminary review that was completed in July, saying no decisions will be released until after work is completed on the fiscal 2016 budget this fall.