Jan 04 2016
The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) in November 2015, its fifth littoral combat ship (LCS) and the third Freedom variant in the LCS class.
USS Milwaukee was designed and constructed by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team, which included shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine and naval architect Gibbs & Cox. The team already has delivered to the U.S. Navy two LCS Freedom-variants, USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3).
Neil King, director of littoral ships and systems for Lockheed Martin Corp., says Lockheed Martin has 10 LCSs in its latest contract with the Navy, with USS Milwaukee being the first delivered, six others in various stages of production, and three in procurement. He notes the LCS-1 and LCS-3 deliveries were under a previous contract.
LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet capable of open-ocean operation, King notes. It is designed to defeat asymmetric anti-access threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines, and fast surface craft.
USS Milwaukee and the other LCS variants that Lockheed Martin builds “are intended to be a single-mission ship with a modular capability,” King says. “They will be able to handle antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, and surface warfare. Those were the mission capabilities selected by the Navy that we had to integrate into the ships.”
The Navy’s LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin for the odd-numbered hulls, while the Independence variant team is being led by Austal USA for the even-numbered hulls.
USS Milwaukee is designed on a mono-hull that is able to swap out different mission capabilities in two days, King says.
The LCS is 480 feet long and 56 feet on the beam and has a 12-1/2-foot draft. It weighs 2,200 metric tons. The current staffing of the ship of 76 personnel is expected to increase to 98 in the future, King adds.
“It’s designed to get to a lot of places that other Navy ships of that size can’t because of its shallower draft,” King observes.
USS Milwaukee is the fifth U.S. Navy vessel bearing that name. It will homeport in San Diego, where it will be integrated into the fleet, while the industry-Navy team conducts additional program testing and crew training.
Of the two previous Lockheed Martin developed LCS variants, USS Freedom conducted a successful deployment to Southeast Asia in 2013 and currently is operating out of her homeport in San Diego, while USS Fort Worth currently is deployed in Southeast Asia, serving in the U.S. 7th Fleet.
Detroit (LCS-7) is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the first half of 2016. Little Rock (LCS-9) has been launched and christened, while Sioux City (LCS-11), Wichita (LCS-13), Billings (LCS-15), and Indianapolis (LCS-17) are in construction. St. Louis (LCS-19), Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21), and Cooperstown (LCS-23) are in long-lead material procurement.
About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., journalist who writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s the author of several books on historical military firearms; two historical mysteries, Full Moon and Asylum Lane, and his latest historical mystery to be published this spring, A Case of Dom Perignon, all available at www.amazon.com.
Comments Off on Mil Tech — U.S. Navy Commissions Fifth Littoral Combat Ship