The Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Detroit has been commissioned in front of the General Motors building at the Port of Detroit on the Detroit River on October 22, according to a U.S. Navy press release.
Admiral Phil Davidson, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, placed the ship officially in commission. The USS Detroit is the seventh LCS to be commissioned by the U.S. Navy and the fourth ship of the Freedom-class LCS variant following the USS Freedom, USS Fort Worth and USS Milwaukee.
The Freedom-class has been accident prone and various ships have been put out of action over the last few months either due to a combination of human error and technical problems. The USS Freedom remains sidelined in San Diego after sustaining damage in one of its two main propulsion diesel engines on July 11 due to a crew error.
The Freedom-class LCS USS Fort Worth is currently undergoing major repairs in San Diego after sustaining damage to its propulsion system caused by human error while on deployment in Asia in January. The Freedom-class USS Milwaukee sustained a combining gear casualty off the Virginia coast during an Atlantic transit in December 2015.
The LCS Independence–class has not been faring much better so far in 2016.
The Independence-class LCS USS Coronado sustained an engineering casualty while transiting from Hawaii to Singapore in August (See: “Dropping Like Flies: Third US Navy Littoral Combat Ship Out of Action”). After suffering an engineering casualty en route from Mobile, Alabama to her homeport in San Diego California in September, the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Montgomery was once more put out of action after it cracked its hull as a result of a collision with a tug in early October.
Nevertheless, the USS Coronado started its rotational forward deployment at Changi Naval Base in Singapore to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet area of operations on October 16. This marks the first time that an Independence-class LCS has been deployed to Southeast Asia. The USS Coronado is the first LCS to be equipped with an over-the-horizon anti-ship capability.
“The Independence-class variant of the LCS boasts a larger flight deck than the Freedom-class variant. It also has more fuel capacity and a wider operational range,” I explained elsewhere. Both variants have about 40 percent reconfigurable shipboard space.
The USS Detroit completed acceptance trials on July 15 and was delivered to the U.S. Navy during a ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin on August 12. The ship will now be transferred to the West Coast, where she will join three other Freedom-class LCSs, all homeported in San Diego.
As I explained:
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.
“A fast, agile and high-technology surface combatant, Detroit, like the other ships in her class, will serve as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles,” the U.S. Navy press release states. The USS Detroit is the sixth U.S. warship to be named for the city of Detroit.