U.S. Navy Fact Sheet
Littoral Combat Ship Class - LCS
LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant - designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is being led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
The LCS seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules (made up of mission systems and support equipment), which can be changed out quickly. These modules combine with crew detachments and aviation assets to become complete mission packages, which will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, or surface warfare missions.
Littoral Combat Ship: The Future Is Now
Initiated in February 2002, the LCS program represents a significant reduction in time to acquire, design and build ships in comparison to any previous ship class. Constructed by Lockheed Martin in the Marinette Marine Corporation's shipyard in Marinette, Wis., USS Freedom (LCS 1) was delivered to the Navy on Sept. 18, 2008. USS Independence (LCS 2) was constructed by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works in the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. and delivered to the Navy on Dec. 18, 2009. Lockheed Martin was also responsible for the construction and delivery of LCS 3 (USS Fort Worth, which was commissioned in September 2012) and General Dynamics for construction and delivery of LCS 4 (the future USS Coronado, which delivered Sept. 27, 2013).
The Navy's LCS acquisition strategy to down select to a single design in 2010 resulted in a highly effective competition and an industry response that produced significant savings in the LCS program. These competitive bids, coupled with the Navy's desire to increase ship procurement rates to support operational requirements, created an opportunity to award both bidders a fixed-price, ten-ship block buy for a total of 20 ships from fiscal years 2010 to 2015.
Contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin and Austal USA on Dec. 29, 2010, for the construction of up to 10 ships each (FY 2010 - FY 2015), beginning with LCS 5 and LCS 6.
In order to bring operational issues to the forefront, collect data in real-world operational scenarios, and inform the larger LCS fleet integration strategy, the Navy decided to deploy USS Freedom (LCS 1) nearly two years early. On Feb. 16, 2010, the ship deployed to the Fourth Fleet in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. During this deployment, Freedom successfully conducted four drug seizures, netting more than five tons of cocaine, detained nine suspected drug smugglers, and disabled two 'go-fast' drug vessels. USS Freedom also participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise during this early deployment.
Freedom deployed a second time on March 1, 2013, crossing the Pacific to operate in Southeast Asia out of Singapore for eight months. Marking the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western Pacific for the LCS platform, Freedom conducted maritime security operations with regional partners and allies. This deployment allowed the Navy to demonstrate Freedom's operational capabilities as well as evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans for the entire LCS class.
Following her commissioning in Mobile, Ala. in January 2010, Independence continued on to her homeport in San Diego, Calif., and conducted Post Delivery Test and Trials (PDTT) and a Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). She participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2014. LCS 2ís Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) with the Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Mission Package is planned for August 2015.
Following the commissioning of Fort Worth in Galveston, Texas in September 2012, and Coronado in Coronado, Calif. in April 2014, LCS 3 and LCS 4 joined sister ships Freedom and Independence in their homeport, San Diego. While San Diego will be the homeport for the majority of the first 24 littoral combat ships, several of the later Freedom variant hulls are planned for homeporting in Mayport, Fla.
Fort Worth completed Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package IOT&E on April 18, 2014, satisfying the IOT&E and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) program milestones. She also completed Total Ship Survivability Trials (TSST) in October 2014. Fort Worth departed San Diego Nov. 17, 2014, for a 16-month rotational deployment to Singapore in support of the Navy's strategic rebalance to the Pacific.
Coronado, a RIMPAC 2014 participant, will complete PSA in March 2015, will officially transfer to the fleet in April 2015, and will conduct IOT&E with the Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package in August 2015.
Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11), and Wichita (LCS 13) are under contract to Lockheed Martin and are in construction at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard. Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), Omaha (LCS 12), and Manchester (LCS 14) are under contract to Austal USA and are in construction at the Austal USA shipyard.
Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17) and LCS 19 are under contract with Lockheed Martin and in the pre-production phase at Marinette Marine Corp, while Tulsa (LCS 16), Charleston (LCS 18), and LCS 20 are under contract with Austal USA and in the pre-production phase.