Asia Defense

Latest Littoral Combat Ship Delivered to US Navy

The eighth Littoral Combat Ship has been delivered to the U.S. Navy.

Latest Littoral Combat Ship Delivered to US Navy
Credit: US Navy

The Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Detroit has been delivered to the U.S. Navy during a ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin on August 12, according to a U.S. Navy press release. The USS Detroit is the eight LCS to be delivered to the US Navy and the fourth of the Freedom-class LCS.

The delivery of the ship marks the official transfer of the Detroit from the shipbuilder– consortium consisting of Fincantieri, through its subsidiary FMM, and Lockheed Martin Corporation—to the U.S. Navy.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Detroit, an exceptional ship which will conduct anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasures operations around the globe with ever-increasing mission package capability,” according to LCS Program Manager Captain Tom Anderson. “I look forward to seeing Detroit join her sister ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) this fall.”

The USS Detroit completed acceptance trials on July 15, which included conducting surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, as well as repeated demonstrations of the ship’s maneuverability (See: “US Navy’s Newest Littoral Combat Ship Completes Acceptance Trials”). The new Freedom-class LCS is expected to be commissioned in October. As I reported previously:

Once commissioned, the USS Detroit will be transferred to the West Coast, where she will join three other Freedom-class LCSs: the USS Freedom, USS Forth Worth, and USS Milwaukee, all homeported in San Diego. The U.S. Navy expects to add at least nine more Freedom-class variants of the LCS to its surface warship fleet in the coming years. In addition, there are also 13 Independence-class variants of the LCS currently under construction. The U.S. Navy also plans to build a more heavily-armed and armored LCS variant, designated a frigate, as a response to advances in effective counter-swarm defense.

The new frigate will be based on either the Freed0m– or Independence-class ship hulls. The U.S. Navy is expected to make its selection by the end of 2019. I explained in July:

In December, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered the U.S. Navy to reduce the number of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to be built from 52 to 40. The reduction was vehemently opposed by some U.S. lawmakers and the industry teams that designed and are currently building the two LCS variants: Lockheed Martin and Austal USA. (According to Politico, Austal USA employed 12 lobbyists and Lockheed Martin employed 70 lobbyists to help fight the reduction in the number of LCSs in Washington D.C.)

So far, two Freedom-class LCS have been deployed to the Pacific. By 2018 at the latest, the U.S. Navy intends to rotationally station four – one at a time – LCS in Singapore. In January, the LCS USS Fort Worth suffered from damages to her propulsion system and has been sidelined in Singapore ever since.