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Littoral Combat Ship – LCS

Utilizing waterjet propulsion via combined diesel and gas turbine engines, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is the U.S. Navy’s newest class of warships. Engineered to be a focused-mission, modular, surface combatant, the LCS is prepped for a variety of missions whether in littoral waters or deep seas.With half of the LCS fleet deployed at all times, the LCS 3:2:1 (3 Rotational Crews:2 Rotational Ships:1 Ship Deployed) rotational crewing concept provides twice the forward presence of other surface combatants. The LCS program was announced on November 1, 2001. The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant that is to be equipped with modular “plug-and-fight” mission packages, including unmanned vehicles (UVs). Rather than being a multi-mission ship like the Navy’s larger surface combatants, the LCS is to be a focused-mission ship-meaning a ship equipped to perform one primary mission at any given time. The ship’s mission orientation can be changed by changing out its mission packages. The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame.

On May 27, 2004, the U.S. Navy granted contract to two industry teams—one led by Lockheed Martin, and the other led by General Dynamics—to design and develop two versions of the LCS. The resulting designs differed notably from each other. The Lockheed Martin team based its design on a steel semi-planing monohull with an aluminum superstructure. The General Dynamics team based its prototype on an entirely aluminum trimaran hull. In addition to having differing structures, the two prototypes are also integrated with different combat systems, sensors, computers, software, and tactical displays. According to the U.S. Navy, both LCS designs meet the Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) for the LCS program. Traditionally, LCSs were named after U.S. mid-tier cities, small towns, and other American communities. Later, the naming convention changed to regionally important U.S. cities and communities. The only exception happened on February 10, 2012, when the U.S. Navy announced that it was naming LCS-10 after former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

The following are the Freedom variants created by Lockheed Martin waiting to be delivered:

  • USS Freedom (LCS-1), San Diego, CAc
  • PCU Sioux City (LCS-11) - under construction
  • PCU Wichita (LCS-13) - in pre-production phase
  • PCU Billings (LCS-15) - in pre-production phase
  • USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), San Diego, CA
  • PCU Milwaukee (LCS-5) - under construction
  • PCU Detroit (LCS-7) - under construction
  • PCU Little Rock (LCS-9) - under construction

The following are the Independence variants designed by General Dynamics waiting to be delivered:

  • PCU Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) - under construction
  • PCU Omaha (LCS-12) - under construction
  • PCU Manchester (LCS-14) - in pre-production phase
  • PCU Tulsa (LCS-16) - in pre-production phase
  • USS Independence (LCS-2), San Diego, CA
  • PCU Coronado (LCS-4), San Diego, CA - delivered to the Navy, will be commissioned April 5, 2014
  • PCU Jackson (LCS-6) - under construction
  • PCU Montgomery (LCS-8) - under construction

The following are the specifications of the Freedom variant:

Builder Lockheed Martin
Length 387.6 ft. (118.1 meters)
Beam 57.7 ft. (17.6 meters)
Displacement approximately 3,400 MT full load
Draft 14.1 ft. (4.3 meters)
Speed 40+ knots.

The following are the specifications of the Independence variant:

Builder General Dynamics (LCS 2 and LCS 4), Austal USA (LCS 6 and following)
Length 418.6 ft. (127.6 meters)
Beam 103.7 ft. (31.6 meters)
Displacement approximately 3,100 MT full load
Draft 14.4 ft (4.4 meters)

LCS Core Ship Weapons:

  • 57mm Gun
  • RAM FREEDOM Variant
  • .50 CAL Machine Guns
  • ALEX Decoy System

LCS Surface Warfare:

  • 30mm Guns
  • MH-60R equipped with Hellfire Missiles
  • Firescout Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV)
  • Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM)
  • 11m RHIBs for Maritime Interdiction

LCS Mine Countermeasures:

  • MH-60S
  • Firescout VTUAV
  • Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)
  • Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS)
  • Remote Mine-Hunting System (RMS)
  • Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA)
  • Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS)
  • Knifefish Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

LCS Anti-Submarine Warfare:

  • MH-60S
  • Firescout VTUAV
  • Light Weight Towed Torpedo Decoy System
  • Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA)
  • Continuous Active Sonar / Variable Depth Sonar (CAS VDS)


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