USS Freedom (LCS-1): Wikis


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USS Freedom blue water ops.jpg
USS Freedom in the Atlantic, February 2010
Career (US)
Ordered: May 2004 (NVR states 15 December 2004)
Builder: Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin
Laid down: 2 June 2005
Launched: 23 September 2006
Acquired: 18 September 2008
Commissioned: 8 November 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin[1]
In service: 18 September 2008
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego[1]
Motto: Fast, Fearless, Focused
Status: in active service, as of 2010
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,089 long tons (3,139 t) (full load)[2]
Length: 379 ft (115.3 m)
Beam: 57.4 ft (17.5 m)
Draft: 12.1 ft (3.7 m)
Propulsion: 2 Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW gas turbines, 2 Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, 4 Rolls-Royce waterjets
Speed: 47 knots (54 mph; 87 km/h) (sea state 3)[3]
Range: 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)[4]
Endurance: 21 days (336 hours)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
11 m RHIB, 40 ft (12 m) high-speed boats
Complement: 15 to 50 core crew, 75 mission crew (Blue and Gold crews)
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SQR-20 Multi-Function Towed Array(ASW mission package)[5][6]
Aircraft carried:
Notes: Electrical power is provided by 4 Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel engines with Hitzinger generator units rated at 800 kW each.
LCS-1 during commissioning

USS Freedom (LCS-1), the lead ship of the Freedom class of Littoral combat ships (LCS), is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named. She is the design competitor produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, in competition with the General Dynamics-designed USS Independence. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast on behalf of the US Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, WI on 18 September 2008.[9]

She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships, as well as minesweeping and humanitarian relief. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 45 knots (83 km/h; 52 mph).

Commissioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 November 2008, USS Freedom is home-ported in San Diego, California.[1]



The USS Freedom is the first of two dramatically different LCS designs being produced; the other, USS Independence (LCS-2), is a trimaran built by a team led by General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works and Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. USS Freedom is designed to be a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant for missions such as anti-mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief.[10]

The ship is a semi-planing steel monohull with an aluminum superstructure. It is 377 feet (115 m) in length, displaces 3,000 metric tons (2950 metric tons) and can go faster than 45 knots (52 mph; 83 km/h). The design incorporates a large reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated helicopter launch, recovery and handling system and the capability to launch and recover boats (manned and unmanned) from both the stern and side.

The flight deck is 1.5 times the size of that of a standard surface ship, and uses a Trigon traversing system to move helicopters in and out of the hangar. The ship has two ways to launch and recover various mission packages: a stern ramp and a starboard side door near the waterline. The mission module bay has a 3-axis crane for positioning modules or cargo.[11] The fore deck has a modular weapons zone which can be used for a 57 mm gun turret or missile launcher. A Rolling Airframe Missile launcher is mounted above the hangar for short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles, and .50-caliber gun mounts are provided topside.

The core crew will be 40 sailors, usually joined by a mission package crew and an aviation detachment for a total crew of about 75.

Concept of operations

The operational concept includes deployment of a two or three-ship squadron to operate in the littorals to counter anti-access forces and to support the operations of US Navy and other friendly surface ships. The operational concept is in direct support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy, "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower."[12]

Principal capabilities include shallow-water anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and defense against attacking small boats. LCS ships are to be networked to share tactical information with other units. Freedom will be initially based in San Diego with two crews which will alternate four-month tours of sea duty.[13]




The construction contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin's LCS team (Lockheed Martin, Gibbs & Cox, Marinette Marine, Bollinger Shipyards) in May 2004. Her keel was laid down on 2 June 2005, by Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin.[14] The ship was sponsored by Birgit Smith, the widow of United States Army Sergeant 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mrs. Smith's initials are welded on the ship's keel. The couple's Saint Christopher medal and wedding bands are embedded in the ship's mast.[13]

The USS Freedom was christened on 23 September 2006,[15][16] delivered to the Navy on 18 September 2008, and commissioned in Milwaukee on 8 November.[1]

Cost overruns during Freedom's construction combined with projected future overruns led the government to issue a "Stop-work" in January 2007 and ultimately led to the cancellation of construction of LCS-3 (the second Lockheed Martin ship) on April 13, 2007.[17] On 25 April 2008 the New York Times ran a highly critical article, arguing that both Freedom and competitor Independence demonstrated a failure of the Navy's littoral combat ship program.[18]

Prior to delivery, the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted acceptance trials aboard LCS-1 Aug. 17-21. INSURV found the ship to be "capable, well-built and inspection-ready" and recommended that the Chief of Naval Operations authorize delivery of the ship. Because the trials were conducted in Lake Michigan, some ship systems, including aviation and combat systems, could not be demonstrated. Systems not demonstrated during recent trials will be presented to INSURV in early 2009 trials in Norfolk and in the open ocean.[9] The inspection discovered 2,600 total discrepancies, of which 21 were considered high-priority deficiencies.[19]

"As part of LCS 1 acceptance trials, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) identified 21 critical “starred” deficiencies and recommended the Chief of Naval Operations authorize delivery of LCS 1 after correction or waiver of these deficiencies. According to Navy officials, only 9 of these deficiencies were corrected prior to delivery. Navy officials report that transiting the ship away from Marinette, Wisconsin, prior to the winter freeze was a higher priority than timely correction of starred deficiencies. The Navy intends to correct remaining deficiencies during planned post-delivery maintenance availabilities."[20]

One of the issues with the ship is that it is six percent overweight and therefore more likely to sink if damaged. This seems to have been caused by design changes during construction. The Navy says that the ship will require special operating procedures until this is corrected.[21] The workaround selected will be to install external tanks for additional buoyancy.[22]

Other issues include difficulty with the slow speed operations required for deep sea refueling, no ability to UNREP other supplies aboard other than by helicopter, and problems with side-door launches of remotely operated vehicles.[3]

On June 12, 2009, The Navy confirmed that CNO Roughead had ordered a study of an early deployment of Freedom, before the expected date of 2012. Anonymous sources inside Lockheed Martin reported that Roughead wanted to use the first LCS to patrol for pirates off the coast of Somalia.[23]

On October 13, 2009, the Department of Defense announced the Freedom would be deployed two years ahead of schedule.[24] For this deployment 20 additional sailors will be carried for Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure operations in two shipping containers in the mission module cargo area. These containers will not include sanitary facilities, so they will be forced to use the ones in the ship's berthing spaces.[25] About half of the 20 member boarding team will be temporarily replaced with USCG law enforcement officers for some portion of the deployment.[26]


On February 15, 2010, Freedom set sail from Naval Station Mayport on its first deployment to support SOUTHCOM operations.[27] On February 22, off the coast of Colombia, the ship pursued a possible drug-running boat. The boat fled back into Colombian coastal waters and Freedom's crew recovered 1/4 ton of cocaine that had been dumped overboard by the boat's crew.[28]

Surface Combat Ship

Lockheed Martin has offered an Aegis Combat System equipped variant for National missile defense radar picket use to a number of Gulf states.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ Littoral Combat Ship datasheet
  3. ^ a b Refueling tops list of LCS crew challenges
  4. ^ "LCS Littoral Combat Ship". Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  5. ^ AN/SQR-20
  6. ^ [ dnloads/LCS_SNAME_IHS041023.pdf Littoral Combat Ship at the Joint Meeting INTERNATIONAL HYDROFOIL SOCIETY SNAME Panel SD-5]
  7. ^ "Captive Flight Test Moves Raytheon and Lockheed's NLOS-LS Closer to U.S. Navy Live Fire Testing". Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  8. ^ "USN Approves LCS Surface Warfare Package - But Doubts Remain". Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ US Navy LCS website
  11. ^ "Nation’s First Littoral Combat Ship Demonstrates Key Mission Package Launch And Recovery System". Lockheed Martin. 2007-10-11.  Good photo of stern door
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Jones, Meg (5 November 2008). "Navy's Vessel Of Versatility". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  14. ^ Onley, Dawn. "Lockheed Martin to build advanced Navy ship". Government Computer News. Retrieved September 23, 2006. 
  15. ^ "First Littoral Combat Ship Christened". Navy News.,15240,114781,00.html? Retrieved September 28, 2006. 
  16. ^ "Lockheed Martin Team Delivers Nation's First Littoral Combat Ship to U.S. Navy". Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  17. ^ Cost Growth Leads To Stop-Work On Team Lockheed LCS-3 Construction
  18. ^ Lesson on How Not to Build a Navy Ship
  19. ^ Ewing, Philip, "Navy: InSurv recommends accepting LCS 2", Military Times, December 9, 2009.
  20. ^ GAO-09-326SP Assessments of Major Weapon Programs, page 106
  21. ^ US Navy Adds 3 LCS Ships, 1st Ship Too Heavy
  22. ^ EXCLUSIVE-Early tests show Lockheed LCS problems-report
  23. ^ orders study of early LCS 1 deployment
  24. ^ DoD Press Release 797-09 USS Freedom to Deploy Early
  25. ^ 20 to join LCS crew on trial deployment
  26. ^ Freedom deployment to have CG boarding team
  27. ^ USS Freedom marks first deployment
  28. ^ Ewing, Philip, "LCS 1 seizes drugs in smuggler encounter", Military Times, February 24, 2010.
  29. ^ Lockheed Martin pitches light warship concept for Gulf radar picket

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

External links

USS Freedom prepares to go to sea to begin her acceptance trials in August 2008


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