It’s Official: USS Freedom Set to Deploy

Navy announces the nation’s first Littoral Combat Ship will head to Southeast Asia March 1


After a rigorous and thorough review of its readiness, USS Freedom – the nation’s first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – was declared fit for duty in May. Now, the U.S. Navy is ready to prove the ship’s concept of operations in international waters.

The Navy recently announced Freedom will leave its home port in San Diego on March 1 and participate in a 10-month deployment to Southeast Asia.  

"Freedom's maiden deployment is another clear signal of the Navy's enduring commitment to maintain security and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific region," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Rotationally deploying our new littoral combat ships improves our warfighting capability and directly supports the Navy's rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific. Even in the face of potential budget cuts, there should be no doubt that the U.S. Pacific Fleet remains on watch and that we will continue to deploy our most capable units forward to operate with our allies and partners."

During deployment, Freedom will participate in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training – a series of joint military exercises conducted by U.S. Pacific Fleet with several member nations – and other Theater Security Cooperation events. Deployment will allow Freedom to demonstrate its operational capabilities, as well as allow the Navy to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans.

Built by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team at Marinette Marine Corporation’s shipyard in Wisconsin, Freedom successfully completed its first deployment in 2010, two years ahead of schedule.

This upcoming deployment also provides Freedom a chance to show off its new four-color camouflage paint scheme, which was conceived and designed by the ship’s Blue Crew. Freedom now bears a combination of flat black, haze gray, haze white and ocean gray colors. Originally, only the hull was painted.

It’s a design that hasn’t been seen on a larger U.S. combatant ship in many years. And while the design doesn’t hide a ship from radars or other sensors, Cmdr. Dave Heinken, executive officer of the Blue Crew, said the new paint gives the ship an advantage.

“It could confuse their visual identification,” Heinken said in a January 14 article in Defense News. “Any time you can confuse an enemy’s targeting problem, create doubt about a ship’s true heading or identity, you could gain an advantage.”

Painting the ship was just one of the many projects completed by the Navy and the industry team to prepare the ship for deployment. During a four-week, 60,000 hour maintenance period that was completed on schedule, Freedom underwent preventive and facilities maintenance and also received a new stern ramp.

In addition to building Freedom and USS Fort Worth, which was commissioned in September, the Lockheed Martin team’s next three ships – Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7) and Little Rock (LCS 9) – are under construction, with long-lead construction materials being procured for Sioux City (LCS 11). A contract award for LCS 13 and 15 is anticipated later this year.

In addition to Marinette Marine Corporation, naval architect Gibbs & Cox and other domestic and international companies are part of the Lockheed Martin-led team.

Posted on February 27, 2013