Additional littoral combat ships for Mayport in jeopardy

Embedded in President Obama's $4 trillion dollar budget released Tuesday is a long-term plan for the Navy.

Action News Jax looked through it and found additional littoral combat ships are in jeopardy.

Mayport was supposed to get up to 14 ships over the next 10 to 15 years. Now, just the eight ships coming in the next five years are a sure thing.

The Navy calls the littoral combat ship the ship of the future. Eight of them coming to Naval Station Mayport over the next five years will bring millions of dollars to the Northeast Florida economy.

But the future of the littoral combat ships may not be as bright as once planned.

The President’s budget outlines a long-term plan to cut funding for more littoral combat ships, cutting the total number from 52 to 40.

"We don't need less ships. We need more ships. Not so much about Mayport, it's about national security," Rep. Ander Crenshaw told Action News Jax in January.

Last month, we asked Rep. Crenshaw, a strong supporter of the littoral combat ships, about potential long-term cuts to the LCS program. On Monday, we first reported they were possible.

"If we have to have a budget battle about that, I look forward to having the Secretary of Defense come before my sub-committee. We're the ones that decide how many ships are going to be built. If he wants to cut back on the number of ships built, I've got some pointed questions to ask him," Rep. Crenshaw said.

Mayport will still get the eight ships and 12 crews coming over the next five years. But if nothing changes with these long-term plans, that would be all it gets. Rep. Crenshaw serves on the House Appropriations Defense spending sub-committee. We will cover that hearing when he asks the Secretary of Defense about cuts to the LCS program.