The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is 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 includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox and ship builder Marinette Marine, as well as best-of-industry 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 four ships are currently 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. Freedom deployed to Southeast Asia in 2013.
USS Fort Worth, the team’s second LCS, was delivered two months early and then commissioned into the fleet on Sept. 22 following her successful Navy acceptance trials in the spring. Improvements made from lessons learned on the first LCS to Fort Worth include improved fuel efficiency and speed via waterjet tunnel extensions, reduced weight, improved satellite, connectivity and launch, recovery and handling systems and landing aids with advanced night vision capability.
The team’s third LCS, the future USS Milwaukee was launched on Dec. 18 into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard. Following christening and launch, Milwaukee will continue to undergo outfitting and testing before delivery to the Navy in 2015.
The team’s next three ships – the Detroit (LCS 7), the Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) – are currently under construction. The Lockheed Martin team will also build the Wichita (LCS 13) and Billings (LCS 15), which are currently in the long lead procurement stages of construction. LCS 17, expected to be awarded in 2014, was named Indianapolis. The Navy’s acquisition strategy calls for 10 ships to be awarded to the Lockheed Martin-led team between 2010 and 2015.
The Lockheed Martin LCS design is available in multiple configurations and is adaptable to meet the needs of naval forces around the globe. The international design—known as the Multi-Mission Combat Ship—features the proven Aegis combat system with the SPY-1F (V) radar and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.