The Navy, Vice Admiral Copeman, Declare Freedom's Deployment a Success
With the end of 2013 came the end of the first littoral combat ship’s maiden deployment to Southeast Asia for the U.S. Pacific 7th Fleet. USS Freedom returned to her home port in San Diego on Dec. 23, and Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, offered positive feedback regarding the deployment. He detailed the many successes from the deployment, which included participating in international maritime exercises with allied navies, patrolling the South China Sea and delivering supplies for Operation Damayan disaster relief following Typhoon Haiyan.
Copeman stated that Freedom’s deployment validated the concept of operations for the LCS and also provided key lessons to integrate into future ships and deployments.
Future LCS deployments will have increased manning; an additional 10 sailors will serve with the core crew to improve operations and combat fatigue, according to Copeman. Also, the next LCS to deploy, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), will operate for 16 months with increased crew turnover.
Copeman addressed the challenges that Freedom faced while in operation, but noted that the Navy and Lockheed Martin have already taken steps to apply modifications and improvements to the follow-on LCSs – starting with USS Fort Worth. Since Freedom’s design and construction, the Navy and Lockheed Martin have redesigned Freedom-variant ships to improve the generators and cooling systems. Incorporating improvements as early as the second ship during production is unprecedented in shipbuilding, yet the Freedom-variant industry team accomplished these changes quickly and effectively.
While USS Fort Worth deploys in 2014, the nation’s second LCS, USS Independence, and fourth LCS, the future USS Coronado, will remain in port conducting tests for the LCS mission packages.
Posted January 10, 2014