Littoral Combat Ship is a key element of the Navy's plan to
address asymmetric threats of the twenty-first century. Intended
to operate in coastal areas of the globe, the ship will be
fast, highly maneuverable and geared to supporting mine detection/elimination,
anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, particularly
against small surface craft.
new 127 meter long Independence Class LCS will provide a platform
for intelligence gathering, employ surface (anti-ship) and
land attacks precision weapons, and operate manned and unmanned
aerial and surface vehicles (UAV/USV). To further adapt for
specific missions, LCS will incorporate a modular and interchangeable
approach, enabling it to be reconfigured to specific missions
such as antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare
missions on an as-needed basis. The LCS will be able to swap
out mission packages pier-side in a matter of hours, adapting
as the tactical situation demands. These ships will also feature
advanced networking capability to share tactical information
with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.
The Independence Class LCS, built by General Dynamics is
designed to offer the largest usable payload volumes per ton
of ship displacement of any U.S. Navy surface combatant afloat
today -- providing the flexibility to carry out one mission
while a separate mission module is in reserve. Its large flight
deck sits high above the water, sized to support near-simultaneous
operation of two SH-60 helicopters or multiple unmanned vehicles.
In addition, the deck is suitable for landing the much-larger
H-53 helicopters, should that become a future requirement.
The stable trimaran hull allows for flight operations in
high sea conditions. The design is based on a proven Austal
(Henderson, Australia) high-speed trimaran hull that is currently
operating at sea.
Independence LCS-2 Demonstrates its Performance during Sea Trials
The second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 2) Independence successfully completed the builder's sea trials test series following a series of demonstrations performed while cruising in the Gulf of Mexico at moderate and high sea state conditions. These trials were testing the ship and all of its systems in preparation for final inspection by the Navy before delivery. Despite the weather, the ship repeatedly reached speeds of over 45 knots with propulsion and ride-control systems operating in full automatic mode, proving the effectiveness of the control systems and the highly efficient and stable characteristics of the trimaran hull form. Sustained high speed performance was part of the Navy's requirements and the Independence demonstrated that sailing at a speed of 44 knots during the required four-hour full-power run, peaking at 45 kt maximum speed.
A series of high speed ahead and astern maneuvers in these sea state conditions proved the effectiveness of the ship’s four steerable water jets. During the repeated high-speed turns the ship demonstrated excellent agility and stability characteristics.
The ship’s flight deck remained stable despite sea state conditions and maneuvers.
Another important element being demonstrated during these trials was the Open Architecture Computing Infrastructure (OPEN CI) - a highly flexible information-technology backbone that integrates the ship’s combat, damage control, engineering control, mission package and other onboard computing functions, also proved its effectiveness during the trials. This architecture enables the crew to operate consoles and workstations anywhere on the vessel. If required, the entire bridge area can be reconfigured to meet specific mission requirement, support distributed operations on board or reconfigured to recover from combat damage. OPEN CI design, developed and integrated by a General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team, allows "plug and play" integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. It meets Navy open architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards and facilitates the integration of commercially available products.
The Littoral Combat Ship is a major part of the Navy's plan to address asymmetric threats in the 21st century. Intended to operate in coastal areas, the ships will be fast, highly maneuverable and equipped to support mine detection/elimination, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare mission.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is the prime contractor
for the General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Team. Partners
include Austal USA (Mobile, AL); BAE Systems (Rockville, MD);
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (Fairfax, Va.);
L3 Communications Marine Systems (Leesburg, VA); Maritime
Applied Physics Corporation (Baltimore, MD); and Northrop
Grumman Electronic Systems (Baltimore, MD).
On December 8, 2006
the US Navy awarded the team a US$208 million contract for
the construction of the second Independence class LCS, The
first ship is under construction at at Austal USA in Mobile,
Alabama. Construction of the second ship of this class has begun on December 2009 with the keel laying ceremony of the Independence sister ship - Coronado (LCS-4), shceduled for delivery by in June 2012.