The Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), departed from the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., Aug. 6, beginning its journey to her commissioning site in Galveston, Texas, before heading to her eventual homeport of San Diego, Calif.
Fort Worth is the third littoral combat ship delivered to the Navy, and the second LCS of the steel, semi-planing, mono-hull Freedom variant. It is scheduled to be commissioned Sept. 22.
Prior to sail-away, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted acceptance trials aboard Forth Worth. INSURV found the ship to be “highly capable, well-built and inspection ready,” and recommended the vessel be accepted.
“The ship’s builders and crew have done an exceptional job preparing Fort Worth for sail-away,” said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer for littoral combat ships. “This ship is incredibly well built and will provide a tremendous capability to the fleet.”
A number of design changes have been incorporated in LCS 3 based on lessons learned from the first ship of class, USS Freedom (LCS 1). These changes are now part of the baseline design and will be incorporated into future ships of the class prior to construction.
The littoral combat ship is a high-speed, agile, shallow-draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed for operation in near-shore environments yet fully capable of open-ocean operation. Fort Worth, a high-speed steel mono-hull ship, is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 387-foot Fort Worth will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly, and focus on three mission areas: mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
“We look forward to adding another LCS to the fleet “and eagerly await her arrival to San Diego,” said Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman, III, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
In addition to its three primary warfare missions, the ship’s inherent capabilities and suitability to conduct lower-end missions will free up more expensive, multi-mission cruisers and destroyers to conduct higher-end missions.
The Lockheed Martin team now has Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), and Sioux City (LCS 11) under construction in Marinette. Austal USA is constructing Independence-variant ships Coronado (LCS 4), Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and Omaha (LCS 12) at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
Naval Today Staff, August 8, 2012; Image: US Navy