Military authorities often change the official designations of systems and keeping up with such changes is part of the job for technical journalists and technical journalism translators among others. On this occasion, the media gave us a little more background information.
National Defense magazine's blog had this to say:
First, they were called small surface combatants, then the modified littoral combat ships. But now, the more lethal, final 20 LCSs will simply be known as frigates, the secretary of the Navy announced Jan. 15.
The new hull designation of “FF” will apply to all littoral combat ships that are modified with more advanced weapons, sensors and combat systems, including retrofitted vessels, said Ray Mabus during a speech at the Surface Navy Association national symposium in Arlington, Virginia.
“It’s going to be the same ship, same program of record, just with an appropriate and traditional name,” he said.
LCS isn’t the only ship that will be renamed. Vessels with unwieldy designations such as the Afloat Forward Staging Base, Mobile Landing Platform and Joint High Speed Vessel will also be rebranded in the coming weeks with ones that better reflect Navy traditions, he said.
“We started naming shapes with some interesting acronyms that seem to have come out of the Pentagon instead of our naval tradition,” Mabus said. The littoral combat ship is not an L-class amphibious ship. “I hear ‘L’, I think amphib. Everybody else does. I hear littoral, and I have to tell you, I spend a good amount of my time explaining what littoral is.”