The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Little Rock on September 25, at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. The future USS Little Rock is the 11th LCS to be delivered to the U.S. Navy and the fifth of the Freedom variant to join the fleet.
The delivery of the ship follows successful completion of acceptance trials conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, the service’s principal body inspecting and reporting on a ship’s readiness for active duty operations, at the end of August.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Little Rock, an exceptional ship which will conduct operations around the globe,’ said Captain Mike Taylor, LCS program manager on September 25. “I look forward to seeing Little Rock join her sister ships this fall, with 100 percent of propulsion power available for unrestricted use.”
As I explained last month:
The LCS class consists of two separate variants, the trimaran-hull Independence-class and the single-hull Freedom-class. The former features a larger flight deck that can accommodate two rather than one H-60 helicopter. Furthermore, Independence-class LCS have a wider operational range.
The ship’s armament will consist of a 11-cell Raytheon RIM-116B SeaRAM missile-defense system, one 57 millimeter naval gun, and depending, AGM-114 L Hellfire missiles and Mark 5o torpedoes. Additional weapon systems will depend LCS’ module which provides different mission-specific capabilities including anti-submarine, surface warfare and mine-clearing.
As of now it, it has not been announced what mission package will be installed on the USS Little Rock. The ship is also slated to be upgraded with the Surface to Surface Missile Module (SSMM), a 24-shot vertical launch system to combat smaller attack boats closing in on the LCS with Hellfire missiles. As I wrote earlier:
The surface warfare mission package is slated to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) in 2018. Delays in the development of the SSMM led to the initial deployment of a more limited surface warfare mission package aboard the LCS exchanging hellfire missiles for rigid hull inflatable boats and boarding teams. The package also encompasses two 30 millimeter machine guns, two MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles and an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter.
The Freedom-class has suffered a number of accidents recently and various LCS were put out of action due to technical problems or human error in 2916. The Little Rock is expected to be commissioned at the end of December in Buffalo, New York .