Fort Worth Arrives Home

The nation’s second Freedom-variant LCS docks at its homeport in San Diego after a 9,500-mile maiden voyage

LCS3_arrival_SanDiego-460 After a 9,500-mile maiden voyage, USS Fort Worth arrived at its homeport in San Diego on Oct. 18 and will undergo additional testing in advance of its initial deployment.

After 9,500 miles, 71 days and one big celebration, the USS Fort Worth arrived home.

Fort Worth, a Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built by a Lockheed Martin-led team, sailed into its homeport of San Diego on Oct. 18, where it will undergo additional testing in preparation for its initial deployment.

"We are especially excited to be reuniting with our families as we deliver the ship to the San Diego fleet," said Cmdr. Randy Blankenship, commanding officer of Fort Worth’s blue crew. "Our maiden voyage of more than 9,500 nautical miles has been challenging and full of many firsts for everyone to include driving through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Our Sailors have done an amazing job operating this ship for the very first time and flawlessly executing so many challenging evolutions with absolute professionalism and pride."

Fort Worth set sail on its maiden voyage Aug. 7 from the Marinette Marine shipyard in northeast Wisconsin where it was built. After a week-long celebration surrounding its Sept. 22 commissioning in Galveston, Texas, Fort Worth traveled through the Panama Canal and on to San Diego, where it joined her sister ship, USS Freedom – the nation’s first LCS.

The Lockheed Martin-led team built Fort Worth on budget and delivered the ship to the Navy two months early, using its experience in building and maintaining the first-in-class Freedom to decrease costs and improve efficiency on its second LCS.

 As with other new ship classes, some minor changes were made to Fort Worth compared to Freedom’s original design, including increasing fuel capacity 10 percent by lengthening the hull, adding a new, easier to use launch recovery and handling system, enhancing the satellite communications system and improving corrosion control techniques.

Since being deployed two years early in 2010, Freedom has sailed more than 58,000 nautical miles, participating in RIMPAC 2010 and in drug interdiction missions with the Coast Guard. It is currently preparing for a deployment to Singapore early next year.

Construction of the Lockheed Martin team’s next two Freedom variants – Milwaukee (LCS 5) and Detroit (LCS 7) – is underway in Marinette. In March, the Navy awarded the team a contract for two more LCSs – Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11). Long-lead materials are already being procured for their construction.

For more coverage of Fort Worth’s arrival, click on the following articles:

Posted on October 18, 2012