USS Independence (LCS-2)
|Awarded:||14 October 2005|
|Laid down:||19 January 2006|
|Launched:||26 April 2008|
|Christened:||4 October 2008|
|Commissioned:||16 January 2010|
|Status:||In active service, as of 2012|
|Class & type:||Independence-class littoral combat ship|
|Displacement:||2,307 metric tons light, 3,104 metric tons full, 797 metric tons deadweight|
|Length:||127.4 m (418 ft)|
|Beam:||31.6 m (104 ft)|
|Draft:||14 ft (4.27 m)|
|Propulsion:||2× MTU Friedrichshafen 20V 8000 Series diesel engines, 2× General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2× American VULKAN light weight multiple-section carbon fiber propulsion shaftlines, 4× Wärtsilä waterjets, retractable bow-mounted azimuth thruster, 4× diesel generators|
|Speed:||44 knots (51 mph; 81 km/h)|
|Range:||4,300 nm at 18 knots|
|Capacity:||210 t (210 long tons; 230 short tons)|
|Complement:||40 core crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted) plus up to 35 mission crew|
USS Independence (LCS-2) is the lead ship of the Independence-class littoral combat ship. She is the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the concept of independence. The design was produced by the General Dynamics consortium for the Navy's LCS program, and competes with the Lockheed Martin-designed Freedom variant.
Independence, delivered to the Navy at the end of 2009, is a modular high speed corvette, not known by that term in U.S. Navy service, intended for operation in the littoral zone with a small crew. It is optimized for deploying and tending off-board systems, manned and unmanned; and takes on various capability profiles with the installation of a mission package, missions to include finding and destroying mines, hunting submarines in and near shallow water, and engaging in surface combat against boats, but not against warships. The ship is a trimaran design with a wide beam above the waterline, which provides the space needed for it to have a larger flight deck than is found on any of the much larger destroyers and cruisers in the US Navy, as well as a large hangar and a similarly large mission bay below. The trimaran hull configuration also exhibits low hydrodynamic drag, allowing efficient operation on two diesel powered water jets at speeds up to 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph), and high speed operation on two gas turbine powered water jets at speeds up to a sustainable 44 knots (81 km/h; 51 mph), with speed crests exceeding that.
The design for Independence (LCS 2) is based on a high-speed trimaran (Benchijigua Express) hull built by Austal (Henderson, Australia). The 418-foot (127-meter) surface combatant design requires a crew of 40 sailors.
With 11,000 cubic meters of payload volume, it was designed with enough payload and volume to carry out one mission with a separate mission module in reserve, allowing the ship to do multiple missions without having to be refitted. The flight deck, 1,030 m2 (11,100 sq ft), can support the operation of two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, multiple UAVs, or one CH-53 Sea Stallion-class helicopter. The trimaran hull will allow flight operations up to sea state 5.
The Independence carries a default armament for self-defense, and command and control. Unlike traditional combatants with fixed armament such as guns and missiles, tailored mission modules can be configured for one mission package at a time. Modules may consist of manned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, off-board sensors, or mission-manning detachments.
The interior volume and payload is greater than some destroyers and is sufficient to serve as a high-speed transport and maneuver platform. The mission bay is 15,200 square feet (1,410 m2), and takes up most of the deck below the hangar and flight deck.
In addition to cargo or container-sized mission modules, the bay can carry four lanes of multiple Strykers, armored Humvees, and their associated troops. An elevator allows air transport of packages the size of a 20-foot-long (6.1 m) shipping container that can be moved into the mission bay while at sea. A side access ramp allows for vehicle roll-on/roll-off loading to a dock and allows the ship to transport the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
The habitability area is located under the bridge where bunks for ships personnel are situated. The helm is controlled by joysticks instead of traditional steering wheels.
The Independence also has an integrated LOS Mast, Sea Giraffe 3D Radar and SeaStar Safire FLIR. Side and forward surfaces are angled for reduced radar profile. In addition, H-60 series helicopters provide airlift, rescue, anti-submarine, radar picket and anti-ship capabilities with torpedoes and missiles.
The Raytheon Evolved SeaRAM missile defense system is installed on the hangar roof. The SeaRAM combines the sensors of the Phalanx 1B close-in weapon system with an 11-missile launcher for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), creating an autonomous system.
Northrop Grumman has demonstrated sensor fusion of on and off-board systems in the Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) used on Independence.
Austal claims that the Independence will use a third less fuel than Freedom, but the Congressional Budget Office found that fuel would account for 18 percent or less of the total lifetime cost of Freedom. While it was unable to judge the fuel usage of Independence, the higher purchase price of Independence would dominate its lifetime costs.
The contract was awarded to General Dynamics in July 2003. The contract to build her was then awarded to Austal USA of Mobile, Alabama, on 14 October 2005 and her keel was laid down on 19 January 2006. Delivery to the United States Navy was scheduled for December 2008.
The originally planned second General Dynamics ship (LCS-4) was canceled on 1 November 2007. On 1 May 2009, a second vessel was reordered by the Navy, the Coronado (LCS-4). The keel was laid on 17 December 2009, with delivery scheduled for May 2012.
The Navy currently plans a new bidding process with the FY2010 budget between Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics for the next three littoral combat ships, with the winner building two ships and the loser only one. USS Independence was christened 5 October 2008 by Doreen Scott, wife of 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott.
Austal has proposed a much smaller and slower trimaran, called the Multi-Role Vessel or Multi-Role Corvette. Though it is only half the size of their LCS design, it would still be useful for border protection and counter piracy operations. Navy leaders said that the fixed price competition offered the Austal design an equal shot, in spite of its excess size and cost and limited service.
The development and construction of Independence as of June 2009 was running at 220% over-budget. The total projected cost for the ship is $704 million. The Navy had originally projected the cost at $220 million. Independence began builder's trials near Mobile, Alabama on 2 July 2009, three days behind schedule because of maintenance issues.
In response to problems with the propulsion plant (the ship experienced a leak in the port gas turbine shaft seal), General Dynamics resequenced the builder's trials to test other systems until this was fixed. The ship completed builder's trials on 21 October 2009 and acceptance trials on 19 November 2009.
On 9 December 2009 the Navy announced that the ship had completed its first INSURV inspection. The inspection found 2,080 discrepancies, including 39 high-priority deficiencies, but concluded that all could be resolved before the Navy accepts the ship as scheduled. The ship was delivered to the Navy on 17 December 2009. On 18 December, the Navy officially accepted custody of the ship. However the ship was found to be incomplete and a second round of acceptance trials was scheduled for 2011.
In 2010 the Navy asked for an additional $5.3 million to correct problems found in the sea trials. Galvanic corrosion caused by an aluminum hull in contact with the stainless steel propulsion system with sea water acting as an electrolyte, and electrical currents not fully isolated, caused "aggresive corrosion." In 2011 the corrosion problem was found to be even worse than expected and repair would require time in a drydock to completely remove the water jets.
In response Austal blamed the US Navy for not properly maintaining the ship. However the Navy replied that the electrical insulation had been improperly installed during construction. Later Austal said it had found a fix for the problem that would be tested on the third Austal LCS ship.
Seven United State Senators have sent a letter to the Department of Defense questioning the management of the corrosion problems of Independence. In July 2011, Navy Public Information Officer Christopher G. Johnson said that a "cathodic protection system" would be installed on the ship. Such systems generally consist of strategically located deposits of "sacrificial metals" which act as an anode to reduce corrosion of the metal being protected.
- Absalon-class command and support ship
- Sea Shadow (IX-529), United States
- SS Independence, United States
- Sea Fighter, United States
- RV Triton, a trimaran concept for Britain's Future Surface Combatant program
- Future Surface Combatant, United Kingdom
- La Fayette-class frigate
- Skjold-class patrol boat
- Visby-class corvette
- Houbei -class missile boat
- Braunschweig-class corvette
- Milgem-class corvette
- F125 class frigate
- F-110 class frigate, a trimaran frigate design by Navantia, Spain
- Buque de Acción Marítima, modular ship with several variants for the Spanish Navy built by Navantia, Spain
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- Little changing for Corps in funding shift
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-  US Navy News, 2 May 2012
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- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to USS Independence (LCS-2).|
- Ship's website
- LCS-2 receives name
- General Dynamics LCS program
- General Dynamics engineering graphic
- Austal Defence link on LCS
- United States Navy video on USS Independence (LCS-2)