Littoral Combat Ship

The littoral combat ship is the first of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended as a relatively small surface combatant for operations in the littoral region close to shore, the LCS is smaller than the Navy's guided missile frigates, and they have been compared to the corvette of international usage. However, it adds the capabilities of a small assault transport with a flight deck and hangar large enough to base two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the capability to recover and launch small boats from a stern ramp, and enough cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with armored vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility. Although the designs offer air defense and surface-to-surface capabilities comparable to destroyers with 57 mm guns, torpedo and missile launchers, the concept emphasizes speed, flexible mission module space and a shallow draft.

It will be able to supplant slower and larger specialized ships such as minesweepers and larger assault ships in anti-mine and special forces missions, plus robotic air, surface, and underwater vehicles. The first LCS was laid down in 2005; it is slated for delivery in 2007.

The concept behind the littoral combat ship, as described by Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, is to "create a small, fast, maneuverable and relatively inexpensive member of the DD(X) family of ships." The ship is to be easily reconfigured for multiple roles, including anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, homeland defense, maritime intercept, special operations, and logistics. It is also intended to be able to operate with carrier strike or surface strike groups.

In 2004, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon submitted preliminary designs to the Navy. It was decided to produce two vessels each (Flight 0) of the Lockheed Martin design (LCS-1 and LCS-3) and of the General Dynamics design (LCS-2 and LCS-4). After these are brought into service, and experience has been gathered on the usability and efficiency of the designs, the future design for the class will be chosen (Flight I). This may be a straight decision to use one or the other design in whole, or a combined form made by cherry-picking the best features from each.

On 9 May 2005, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England announced that the first LCS would be named USS Freedom (LCS-1). Her keel was laid down on 2 June 2005 in Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin.

In late December 2005, the House and Senate agreed to fund another two LCSs. The Navy currently plans to build 55 of these ships. Congresswoman Kay Granger of Texas and leaders of Fort Worth, Texas have launched a letter writing campaign to have the third LCS named USS Fort Worth.

On 19 January 2006, the keel for the General Dynamics trimaran, USS Independence (LCS-2), was laid at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama.

On 24 September 2006, USS Freedom (LCS-1) was christened and launched at the Marinette Marine shipyard.

Some believe that LCS is a "preemptive strike" intended to create a successor to frigates before former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could replace them with "Streetfighter": a concept for a series of corvette-sized attack boats.

An international task force has been put together to determine the usefulness of the littoral combat ship in the navies of the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.

On 12 January 2007, the Navy issued a stop work order to Lockheed Martin for the construction of the third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The stop work order is intended to be in place for a period of 90 days. "The stop work order was issued because of significant cost increases currently being experienced with the construction of LCS-1 and LCS-3, under construction by Lockheed Martin."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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