USS Freedom (LCS-1)
USS Freedom shows off her new dazzle camouflage scheme on sea trials in February 2013 before her first deployment
|Ordered:||May 2004[note 1]|
|Builder:||Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin|
|Laid down:||2 June 2005|
|Launched:||23 September 2006|
|Acquired:||18 September 2008|
|Commissioned:||8 November 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Homeport:||Naval Base San Diego|
|Motto:||Fast, Focused, Fearless|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||Freedom-class littoral combat ship|
|Displacement:||3,500 t (3,900 short tons) (full load)|
|Length:||378 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||57.4 ft (17.5 m)|
|Draft:||12.8 ft (3.9 m)|
|Installed power:||Electrical: 4 Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel engines, Hitzinger generator units, 800 kW (1,100 hp) each|
|Propulsion:||2 Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW (48,000 hp) gas turbines, 2 Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, 4 Rolls-Royce waterjets|
|Speed:||47 knots (87 km/h; 54 mph) (sea state 3)|
|Range:||3,500 nmi (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)|
|Endurance:||21 days (336 hours)|
|Boats & landing
|11 m (36 ft) Rigid-hulled inflatable boat, 40 ft (12 m) high-speed boats|
|Complement:||50 core crew, 98 or more with mission package and air detachment crew (Blue and Gold crews)|
|Aviation facilities:||Hangar bay|
USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships (LCS). She is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named for the concept of freedom. She is the design competitor produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, in competition with the General Dynamics-designed USS Independence. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast on behalf of the US Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, Wisconsin on 18 September 2008.
She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines, small ships, minesweeping and humanitarian relief but not designed to take on large Warships. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph).
USS Freedom is the first of two dramatically different LCS designs being produced; the other, USS Independence (LCS-2), is a trimaran built by a team led by General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works and Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. USS Freedom is designed to be a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant for missions such as anti-mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief.
The ship is a semi-planing steel monohull with an aluminum superstructure. The friction stir welded aluminum deckhouse is very flat which, combined with an angular design, makes it difficult for radar systems to detect. The ship is 377 feet (115 m) in length, displaces 3,500 metric tons (3,900 short tons) fully loaded and can exceed 40 knots (46 mph; 74 km/h).
The design incorporates a large reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated helicopter launch, recovery and handling system and the capability to launch and recover boats (manned and unmanned) from both the stern and side.
The flight deck is 1.5 times the size of that of a standard surface ship, and uses a Trigon traversing system to move helicopters in and out of the hangar. The ship has two ways to launch and recover various mission packages: a stern ramp and a starboard side door near the waterline. The mission module bay has a 3-axis crane for positioning modules or cargo. The fore deck has a modular weapons zone which can be used for a 57 mm gun turret or missile launcher. A Rolling Airframe Missile launcher is mounted above the hangar for short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles, and .50-caliber gun mounts are provided topside.
The core crew will be 40 sailors, usually joined by a mission package crew and an aviation detachment for a total crew of about 75. Automation allows a reduced crew, which greatly reduces operating costs, but workload can still be "grueling."
Concept of operations
The operational concept includes deployment of a two or three-ship squadron to operate in the littorals to counter anti-access forces and to support the operations of the U.S. Navy and other friendly surface ships. The operational concept is in direct support of the U.S. Navy's Maritime Strategy, "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower."
Principal capabilities include shallow-water anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and defense against attacking small boats. LCS ships are to be networked to share tactical information with other units. Freedom will be initially based in San Diego with two crews which will alternate four-month tours of sea duty.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that fuel will account for only "8 percent to 18 percent" of the total life-cycle costs for Freedom. Senator Jeff Sessions has called the report into question and has suggested that Independence, built in his state, would be more fuel efficient and that less frequent refuelings would affect military operations beyond the cost of fuel.
The construction contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin's LCS team (Lockheed Martin, Gibbs & Cox, Marinette Marine, Bollinger Shipyards) in May 2004. Her keel was laid down on 2 June 2005, by Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The ship was sponsored by Birgit Smith, the widow of United States Army Sergeant 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mrs. Smith's initials are welded on the ship's keel. The couple's Saint Christopher medal and wedding bands are embedded in the ship's mast.
Cost overruns during Freedom's construction combined with projected future overruns led the government to issue a "Stop-work" in January 2007. On 25 April 2008 the New York Times ran a highly critical article, arguing that both Freedom and competitor Independence demonstrated a failure of the Navy's littoral combat ship program.
Prior to delivery, the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted acceptance trials aboard LCS-1, 17–21 August. INSURV found the ship to be "capable, well-built and inspection-ready" and recommended that the Chief of Naval Operations authorize delivery of the ship. Because the trials were conducted in Lake Michigan, some ship systems, including aviation and combat systems, could not be demonstrated. Systems not demonstrated during recent trials will be presented to INSURV in early 2009 trials in Norfolk and in the open ocean. The inspection discovered 2,600 total discrepancies, of which 21 were considered high-priority deficiencies.
"As part of LCS 1 acceptance trials, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) identified 21 critical “starred” deficiencies and recommended the Chief of Naval Operations authorize delivery of LCS-1 after correction or waiver of these deficiencies. According to Navy officials, only 9 of these deficiencies were corrected prior to delivery. Navy officials report that transiting the ship away from Marinette, Wisconsin, prior to the winter freeze was a higher priority than timely correction of starred deficiencies. The Navy intends to correct remaining deficiencies during planned post-delivery maintenance availabilities."
One of the issues with the ship is that it is six percent overweight and therefore more likely to sink if damaged. This seems to have been caused by design changes during construction. The Navy says that the ship will require special operating procedures until this is corrected. The workaround selected will be to install external tanks for additional buoyancy. The Navy stated that LCS-1 now meets the damage stability requirement with the addition of the external tanks and that the design of USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) including additional stability improvements.
Other issues include difficulty with the slow speed operations required for deep sea refueling, no ability to UNREP other supplies aboard other than by helicopter, and problems with side-door launches of remotely operated vehicles.
On 12 June 2009, the Navy confirmed that CNO Roughead had ordered a study of an early deployment of Freedom, before the expected date of 2012. Anonymous sources inside Lockheed Martin reported that Roughead wanted to use the first LCS to patrol for pirates off the coast of Somalia.
On 13 October 2009, the Department of Defense announced Freedom would be deployed two years ahead of schedule. For this deployment 20 additional sailors will be carried for Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure operations in two shipping containers in the mission module cargo area. These containers will not include sanitary facilities, so they will be forced to use the ones in the ship's berthing spaces. About half of the 20 member boarding team will be temporarily replaced with United States Coast Guard law enforcement officers for some portion of the deployment. John C. Harvey, Jr. said that while the deployment was a success, manning may need adjustment.
In her limited time at sea, Freedom has been "plagued by flawed designs and failed equipment since being commissioned, has at least 17 known cracks, and has repeatedly been beset by engine-related failures."
On 15 February 2010, Freedom set sail from Naval Station Mayport on its first deployment to support SOUTHCOM operations. On 22 February, off the coast of Colombia, the ship pursued a possible drug-running boat. The boat fled back into Colombian coastal waters and Freedom's crew recovered 1/4 ton of cocaine that had been dumped overboard by the boat's crew.
On 4 April 2010 Freedom entered the 3rd Fleet area of responsibility; carrying Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Det. 2, a LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package, and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
She was expected to be dry docked in San Diego’s Nassco shipyard so that her outer starboard waterjet can be replaced.
On 12 September 2010, the starboard Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine broke down and the ship had to rely on her diesel engines to return to port. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said that the media had overhyped the issue and that such breakdowns were not uncommon.
During a heavy-weather ocean trial in February 2011, the ship sprung a six-inch crack in its hull that leaked 5 gallons of water an hour. The Navy is investigating. The problem appeared to be due to faulty welds rather than a design error. The repairs were scheduled to begin on 27 June 2011, and last until 19 September.
On February 2012, Freedom suffered minor flooding while underway off Southern California. An inflatable boot seal was deployed in a successful effort to contain the flooding, and the ship returned to San Diego on its own power. This marked a return to the dry dock before the ship even completed its last post-repair shakedown. A "special trial" conducted in May 2012 found the ship fit for the deployment.
In July 2012, Freedom was dry docked in order to expand berthing by 20 and for firefighting and boat handling improvements. After another docking to apply a new paint scheme and apply another fix for the aft ramp, she will depart for Singapore with a core crew of 50 plus 3 trainees, plus a mission crew with berthing for 98. Additional crew above that level will again be bedded in the cargo spaces.
On 15 January 2013, the U.S. Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation released a judgement of the LCS in an annual study. The report said that Freedom was "not expected to be survivable" in combat. Helicopters on board the ship cannot tow its mine-hunting sensors, so it must rely on unmanned systems for mine countermeasures, although those systems are not in service, and will not be for several years. Its 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster IIs "exhibit reliability problems." The Mk 110 57 mm gun is differently designed on the Freedom class, which cause vibrations at high speeds that make accurate firing difficult. The integrated weapons systems and air/surface search radar have “performance deficiencies” that affect the ship’s “tracking and engagement of contacts.”
In early 2013 the vessel took part in the National Geographic TV show "21st Century Warship" along with USS Independence. The show premiered in the UK on 10 February 2013.
Freedom left for a 10-month deployment to Singapore in March 2013. On 11 March 2013, Freedom became the first LCS to reach Hawaii. On 16 March the ship briefly lost power when one of the diesel engines, which have had years of problems, shut down. On 18 April, the Freedom arrived at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore, set to participate in joint military exercises. On 18–19 May, Freedom participated in the Republic of Singapore Navy's Open House 2013 at Changi Naval Base. Visitors to the Open House were allowed to board and visit Freedom. On 21 May, Freedom's first venture from Singapore harbor was cut short by another equipment failure, followed on 20 July 2013 by another breakdown requiring a return to port. The frequent breakdowns found the crew short of the Navy's sleep requirement, even with the maximum possible core crew and help from contractors and the mission module crew. Although billed as a trip for training and international cooperation exercises, Freedom conducted standard patrols while in the South China Sea. Despite suffering several breakdowns, the deployment was deemed a success from a research and development platform standpoint; while deployed for 10 months, the ship had 70 percent availability, on par with most other forward deployed ships in the fleet.
From 25 April-16 May 2014, Freedom conducted the future concept of operations (CONOPS) for manned and unmanned helicopters aboard littoral combat ships. Operations had the manned MH-60R working together with the unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout. The demonstration included one MH-60R and one MQ-8B flying with the surface warfare (SUW) mission package installed, intended to provide fleet protection against small boats and asymmetric threats.
- NVR states 15 December 2004
- "AN/SQR-20". Deagel.com. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Littoral Combat Ship at the Joint Meeting INTERNATIONAL HYDROFOIL SOCIETY SNAME Panel SD-5" (PDF). Foils.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Surface Warfare Mission Package Capabilities". NSWC Dahlgren Division. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- US Navy LCS website Archived 23 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Knisely, Sandra (11 May 2010). "Friction stir welding fuses engineering research and Wisconsin industry". University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Nation's First Littoral Combat Ship Demonstrates Key Mission Package Launch And Recovery System". Lockheed Martin. 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008.
- Jean, Grace V. (September 2010). "Duty Aboard the Littoral Combat Ship: 'Grueling but Manageable'". National Defense. NDIA. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Howard, Courtenay E. (1 April 2008). "USS Freedom demonstrates its power plant can handle vessel's sensors and electronics". Military & Aerospace Electronics.com. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Freeman, Ben (16 August 2012). "Off Course: Did Navy Underplay Steering Problem Before Awarding Ship Contract?". POGO. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "The US Navy". Navy.mil. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Jones, Meg (5 November 2008). "Navy's Vessel Of Versatility". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Life-Cycle Costs of Selected Navy Ships". Congressional Budget Office.[dead link]
- "CBO Report Calls into Question Navy's LCS Evaluation". Bignews.biz. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Onley, Dawn. "Lockheed Martin to build advanced Navy ship". Government Computer News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2006.
- "Lockheed Martin Team Delivers Nation's First Littoral Combat Ship to U.S. Navy". Retrieved 20 September 2008.[dead link]
- "Cost Growth Leads To Stop-Work On Team Lockheed LCS-3 Construction". Defenseindustrydaily.com. 16 April 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Taubman, Philip (25 April 2008). "Lesson on How Not to Build a Navy Ship". New York Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Ewing, Philip (9 December 2009). "Navy: InSurv recommends accepting LCS 2". Military Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015. (subscription required)
- "GAO-09-326SP Assessments of Major Weapon Programs" (PDF). United States Government Accountability Office. March 2009. p. 106. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "US Navy Adds 3 LCS Ships, 1st Ship Too Heavy". Dalje.com. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "EXCLUSIVE-Early tests show Lockheed LCS problems-report". Forexyard.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- Ronald O'Rouke (11 May 2010). Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress. BiblioGov. ISBN 1116259095.
- Ewing, Philip (12 June 2009). "CNO orders study of early LCS 1 deployment". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015. (subscription required)
- "USS Freedom to Deploy Early" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Ewing, Philip (14 November 2009). "20 to join LCS crew on trial deployment". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015. (subscription required)
- Ewing, Philip (12 December 2009). "Freedom deployment to have CG boarding team". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015. (subscription required)
- Ewing, Phil (29 July 2010). "In their own words: Harvey's caution on LCS". Navy Times. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012.
- Liebelson, Dana (23 April 2012). "Failed Equipment, Flawed Designs Plague Lockheed Littoral Combat Ship". POGO. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "USS Freedom marks first deployment". Upi.com. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Ewing, Philip (24 February 2010). "LCS 1 seizes drugs in smuggler encounter". Military Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- USS Freedom (LCS 1) enters 3rd Fleet[dead link]
- Ewing, Philip (4 May 2010). "LCS Freedom heads for 5-day dry dock repairs". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015. (subscription required)
- Cavas, Christopher P. (23 September 2010). "Gas turbine engine on LCS Freedom breaks". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Clark, Colin (13 October 2010). "Land Forces Will Fade, Navy Rise". DOD Buzz. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Crack In Lockheed Martin's Warship Spurs Navy Review". Arizona Republic. Bloomberg L.P. 19 March 2011.
- Fabey, Michael (11 April 2011). "Welds Implicated In LCS Cracks". Aviation Week.[dead link]
- Robbins, Gary (31 March 2011). "Navy books 3 warships for repairs in San Diego". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Robbins, Gary (27 June 2011). "Fleet News: Freedom Heads To BAE For Upgrades". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P. (3 February 2012). "LCS Freedom suffers leak while underway". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P. (1 March 2012). "LCS Freedom returns to dry dock for repairs". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P. (30 May 2012). "Hunt says LCS Freedom 'is fit for service'". Navy Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P (2 July 2012). "U.S. Navy Boosting LCS Core Crew Up to 50%". DefenseNews. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P. (14 January 2013). "Special Report: Littoral Warfare". Defense News. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Ackerman, Spencer (15 January 2013). "Navy's $670 Million Fighting Ship Is 'Not Expected to Be Survivable,'". Wired.com. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Steele, Jeanette (2 March 2013). "Combat ship Freedom goes to sea". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Wolf, Jim (10 May 2012). "U.S. plans 10-month warship deployment in Singapore". Reuters. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cole, William (11 March 2013). "New type of Navy combat ship docks at Pearl Harbor". Honolulu Star Advertiser. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Fabey, Michael (20 March 2013). "First Littoral Combat Ship Loses, Regains Power". Aviation Week. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "USS Freedom arrives in Singapore as part of US 'pivot'". BBC News. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Photos: Preview of the Republic of Singapore Navy's Open House". Alert5.com. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Fabey, Michael (22 May 2013). "USS Freedom Cuts Short Initial Singapore Underway". Aviation Week. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Cavas, Christopher P. (22 July 2013). "LCS Freedom Suffers Propulsion Loss at Sea". DefenseNews. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (4 April 2014). "Sleepless In Singapore: LCS Is Undermanned & Overworked, Says GAO". breakingdefense.com. Breaking Media, Inc. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Navy: Freedom LCS Conducted More Than Training Missions in South China Sea". USNI.org. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "USS Freedom Delivers Relief Supplies to Tacloban, Philippines". navy.mil. United States Navy. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Navy Conducts Initial Fire Scout, H-60 Helicopter Demonstration Aboard LCS". Navy.mil. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to USS Freedom (LCS-1).|