LCS on the Road to Singapore

U.S. Navy to deploy USS Freedom to Southeast Asia within the next year

as part of “forward stationing” strategy



The USS Freedom will sail to Singapore for “demonstration” deployment within the next year as part of the Navy’s plan
to forward position LCSs in the Southeast Asian city-state, according to CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

The U.S. Navy’s top brass traveled to Capitol Hill recently to make the case for their FY 2013 budget, and it quickly became clear that the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) remains an integral part of the Navy’s future.

During his March 7 testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said Navy plans call for the “forward stationing” of LCSs in Singapore “to establish our forward posture.”

Following the budget hearing, according to a March 8 Aviation Week & Space Technology article, Greenert said the USS Freedom – the nation’s first LCS – will sail to Singapore for a 10-month “demonstration” deployment sometime in the next year.

Built by a Lockheed Martin led team, Freedom will test the LCS’s concept of operations in advance of the deployment of additional LCSs to the Southeast Asian city-state. Singapore officials specifically asked the Navy to deploy the LCS there.

In his testimony, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the additional LCSs scheduled to come on line over the next five years will help the Navy support the new defense strategy. Ultimately, the Navy plans to build 55 LCSs, with construction split between the Lockheed Martin team and Austal.

 “LCSs will be an important part of a more agile future fleet,” Mabus said. “(The ships) will allow for substantially more LCS forward presence than the frigates, Mine Counter-Measures ships, and coastal patrol craft they will replace.”

Responding to concerns raised by Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin that the Navy’s five-year budget projection calls for cutting two LCSs, Mabus reassured the senator that the Navy is only delaying the construction of the ships and not eliminating them.

The Lockheed Martin team is building the LCS Freedom variant at the Marinette Marine shipyard in northeast Wisconsin. Work on the team’s second LCS – the Fort Worth – is on budget, on time and 99 percent complete. The ship will undergo Navy acceptance trials this spring. Construction of the next two Freedom variants already has begun at Marinette.

Posted March 29, 2012