For so long it has been billed as the ship of the future, now the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is getting the opportunity to prove itself.
The Navy has promoted the LCS not just as a vessel
meant to replace older vessels or meet the modern
threats in the littoral environment, but as a way to
forge lasting partnerships with other nations with a
ship that can operate alongside their smaller navies.
With the first LCS — USS Freedom — recently
steaming home from the class’ debut deployment to
Singapore, Chief of Naval Operations ADM Jonathan
W. Greenert was eager to sing its praises at the Surface
Navy Association’s annual symposium in Arlington,
Va., in January.
“She did a good job down there,” Greenert said. “We
wanted to shake her down, find out what this means,
get this concept going. We’re writing about it. You’ve
got to write and talk about it. You’ve got to talk objec-
tively and deliberately about where we’re going with
this program, but it’s the real deal.”
Navy spokesman LCDR Clayton
Doss said Freedom operated in Singa-
pore from April through November,
and primarily was used as a logistics
and maintenance hub while conduct-
ing port visits, exercises and ex-
changes throughout the region.
“Freedom was well received by
regional navies during port visits,
exchanges and exercises,” Doss said.
“During the bilateral exercise series
Cooperation Afloat Readiness and
Training and the multilateral exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and
Training, Freedom worked alongside
navies from Bangladesh, Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Freedom also supported humanitari-
an-assistance and disaster-relief
operations in the Philippines as part
of Operation Damayan.”
The focus of the trip was on validating the LCS con-
cept of operations and working with regional navies in
support of the Asia-Pacific rebalance, he said.
“In both areas, the deployment was successful and
lessons learned will inform follow-on LCS deployments,” he said.
It might not be enough to save the program from
losing 20 ships, as has been reported in recent months,
but the service hopes to finally prove that the LCS is
the perfect ship for the modern world.
USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) is leaving soon to take over
for Freedom, and forces overseas were practically beg-ging for it, Greenert claimed.
“I was down in Indonesia in December at the International Maritime Seapower Symposium. In May [they]
said, ‘Hey, don’t be pushing these things at us too fast,
we’ve got to kind of figure out how that is,’” he said.
“Now they’re going, ‘so, why’s Fort Worth coming so
Full Speed Ahead
After wrapping up its first-ever deployment, the Navy
hopes to prove LCS’ worth as a partnership-builder
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
The Navy is hoping to finally prove that the Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) is the perfect ship for the modern world and can play a key
role in the rebalance of U.S. forces to the Asia-Pacific region.
■ The first ship, USS Freedom, returned recently from the class’
debut deployment to Singapore and another Freedom-class LCS,
Fort Worth, is leaving soon.
■ The first Independence-class LCS, Independence, currently is
focused on doing testing on the mission packages being developed for anti-mine, surface and anti-submarine warfare missions
for both classes.
■ Because it is a smaller vessel, other navies can work more
seamlessly with the LCS for military-to-military engagement than
a larger ship like an aircraft carrier.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 16 SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014