The U.S. Navy’s current Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable surface combatant, the LCS provides warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility for focused missions including mine-clearing, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
A flexible and reconfigurable seaframe, LCS derives combat capability from rapidly interchangeable mission modules and an open architecture command and control system. Modularity maximizes the flexibility of LCS and enables commanders to meet changing warfare needs, while also supporting spiral development and technology refresh.
The Lockheed Martin-led team producing the Freedom-variant LCS includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox and ship builder Marinette Marine Corporation, as well as domestic and international teammates. The team’s design, a proven semi-planing steel monohull, provides outstanding agility and high-speed maneuverability. Its common combat system provides commonality with the U.S. Navy’s fleet and allows unprecedented interoperability, while making training more cost effective. The ship’s design also provides flexibility – its shallow draft and narrow beam allow greater access to global ports given existing infrastructure, which is essential for this ship’s missions.
The Lockheed Martin team has designed and delivered two ships for this new class, while another six ships are under construction. The first ship, USS Freedom, was delivered to the Navy in 2008 and successfully completed its first deployment in 2010, two years ahead of schedule. Then, the ship deployed to Southeast Asia in 2013, a journey to be followed by USS Fort Worth in 2014.
USS Fort Worth, the team’s second LCS, was delivered two months early and incorporates improvements from lessons learned on USS Freedom. These includedifferent air compressors, fixes to cooling systems, a 15 percent increase in fuel capacity, and cosmetic changes.
The team’s third LCS, the future USS Milwaukee, was launched and christened in 2013 into the Menominee River at Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), followed by Detroit (LCS 7) in 2014.
The Freedom-variant LCS industry team continues to produce ships at MMC, and has provided the U.S. Navy with potential designs for its future small surface combatant as the service determines next steps for the program.
Designs provided by the Lockheed Martin industry team are based on configurations marketed to navies around the globe. These configurations, known as the Multi-Mission Combat Ship and Surface Combat Ship, are adaptable and can include proven capabilities such as the Aegis combat system with the SPY-1F (V) radar and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.