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Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship - LCS




LCS 1 USS Freedom (2008)

LCS 3 USS Fort Worth (2012)

LCS 5 USS Milwaukee (2015)

LCS 7 USS Detroit (?)

LCS 9 USS Little Rock (?)

LCS 11 USS Sioux City (?)

LCS 13 USS Wichita (?)

LCS 15 USS Billings (?)

LCS 17 USS Indianapolis (?)

LCS 19 USS St. Louis (?)

LCS 21 USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (?)

LCS 23 USS Cooperstown (?)

LCS 25 USS Marinette (?)



Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisconsin, USA (Lockheed Martin LCS Team)

Displacement: 3500 tons (full load)

Length: 118,1 meters

Beam: 17,6 meters

Draft: 4,3 meters

Speed: 40+ knots (75+ km/h), max.



CODAG (combined Diesel and Gas)
2 x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines (96550 hp)
2 x Colt-Pielstick 16PA6B diesel engines (17160 hp)
4 x Rolls-Royce Kamewa 153SII steerable waterjets

Aviation: 2 x MH-60R/S helicopters or 1 x MH-60 and 3 x MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV’s

Range: 3500 NM (6500 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)

Complement: 40 core crew / accomodations for 75



1 x Mk-110 57mm gun weapon system

1 x Mk-49 missile launching system for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM)


& various mission modules (Mine Warfare, Anti-Submarine, Surface Warfare)

> Mk-46 30mm gun weapon system

> RIM-162 ESSM missiles in VLS module (32 missiles)

> RGM-84 Harpoon SSM (8 missiles)

> Torpedoes

> Mk-15 CIWS

> Griffin-B missiles


The Freedom class was proposed by Lockheed Martin as a contender for USN plans to build a fleet of small, multipurpose warships to operate in the littoral zone. Two ships were approved, to compete with the Independence-class design offered by General Dynamics and Austal for a construction contract of up to 55 vessels.

Despite initial plans to only accept two of the Freedom and Independence variants, the Navy has since announced plans to order up to ten additional ships of each class, for a total 12 ships per class.

Planning for a class of small, multipurpose warships to operate in the littoral zone began in the early 2000s. The construction contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin's LCS team (Lockheed Martin, Gibbs & Cox, Marinette Marine, Bollinger Shipyards) in May 2004 for two vessels. These would then be compared to two ships built by Austal USA to determine which design would be taken up by the Navy for a production run of up to 55 ships.

On 15 April 2003, the Lockheed Martin LCS team unveiled their Sea Blade concept based on the hull form of the motor yacht Destriero.

The keel of the lead ship USS Freedom was laid down in June 2005, by Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. She was christened in September 2006, delivered to the Navy in September 2008, and commissioned that November. During INSURV trials, 2,600 discrepancies were discovered, including 21 considered high-priority. Not all of these were rectified before the ship entered service, as moving the ship away from Milwaukee before the winter freeze was considered a higher priority.

Cost overruns during Freedom‍ '​s construction combined with projected future overruns led the government to issue a "Stop-work" in January 2007 and ultimately led to the cancellation of construction of LCS-3 (the second Lockheed Martin ship) on April 13, 2007. This ship was later re-ordered.
After much inconsistency on how testing and orders were to proceed, in November 2010, the USN asked that Congress approve ten of both the Freedom and Independence variants.

The ship is a semi-planing steel monohull with an aluminum superstructure. The design incorporates a large reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated helicopter launch, recovery and handling system and the capability to launch and recover boats (manned and unmanned) from both the stern and side.

The flight deck is 1.5 times the size of that of a standard surface ship, and uses a Trigon traversing system to move helicopters in and out of the hangar. The ship has two ways to launch and recover various mission packages: a stern ramp and a starboard side door near the waterline. The mission module bay has a 3-axis crane for positioning modules or cargo. Problems with the electrical systems are the most serious problems with the Freedom class.

The fore deck has a modular weapons zone which can be used for a 57 mm gun turret or missile launcher. A Rolling Airframe Missile launcher is mounted above the hangar for short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles, and .50-caliber gun mounts are provided topside. The Fleet-class unmanned surface vessel is designed for operations from Freedom variant ships.

The core crew will be 40 sailors, usually joined by a mission package crew and an aviation detachment for a total crew of about 75. Automation allows a reduced crew, which greatly reduces operating costs, but workload can still be "gruelling". During testing of the class lead, two ship's companies will rotate on four-month assignments.

Four 750-kilowatt Fincantieri Isotta-Fraschini diesel generators provide 3 megawatts of electrical power to power the ship systems.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that fuel will account for only "8 percent to 18 percent" of the total life-cycle costs for Freedom. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama has called the report into question and has suggested that Independence, built in his state, would be more fuel efficient and that less frequent refuelings would have an impact on military operations beyond the cost of fuel.

In 2012, a Navy cybersecurity team found major deficiencies in Lockheed's Total Ship Computing Environment, which controls the entire ship in order to reduce crewing requirements.

Survivability has been a criticism of both Littoral Combat Ship classes, rated at level one by the Navy, compared to level two for the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates (FFG) they are designed to replace. Lockheed claims the Freedom class is actually more survivable than the FFGs because Navy requirements of various survivability levels have changed since the FFGs were assessed, and that the Freedoms‍ '​ hull is made of high-strength, low-weight steel that was not previously available.

USS Milwaukee was the first Freedom-class LCS to be fitted with cavitation performance waterjets. The jets create partial vacuums in liquid using an improved impeller blade design. Cavitation jets do not increase the ship's top speed, but deliver 10 percent greater fuel efficiency with less noise and vibration, reduced life-cycle costs, improved maintainability, increased availability, and potentially improved efficiency at lower speeds. The Navy plans to add the new waterjets to every Freedom variant that is produced, including LCS 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13. The mixed flow design was changed to an axial design to push water parallel to the shaft of the impeller.

The first ships of both LCS classes were delivered before the designs were mature so that improvements could be built into future ships. Many improvements to the Freedom class came from the problems experienced by USS Freedom on its first deployment including power outages, corroded equipment, a faulty air compressor. To prevent water being taken into the anchor windlass room, the anchor winch, hydraulic unit, and mooring capstan were replaced with a single electric chain winch on the main deck, and the existing towing chain was replaced with a lighter chain. Corrosion resistance was also improved by the Impressed Current Cathodic Protection system being modified by adding protections to the water jet inlet tunnel. Starting with LCS-3, the stern transom was lengthened and buoyancy tanks were added to the stern to increase weight service and enhance stability. A significantly less complex gas turbine electric start system will be added on LCS-5 to reduce costs and lower ship weight.

Starting with LCS-17, the Freedom-class ships will be equipped with the TRS-4D naval radar. The TRS-4D is an AESA radar built by Airbus Defense and Space that is similar to the one on German F125-class frigates, the difference being the LCS will have a rotating version instead of a fixed panel, the first AESA rotating radar aboard a U.S. Navy ship. It is a three-dimensional, multi-function naval radar combining mechanical and electronic azimuth scanning that delivers increased sensitivity to detect smaller targets with greater accuracy and faster track generation.

source: wikipedia (2015)


class & detail images

lcs freedom class littoral combat ship us navy marinette marine lockheed martin

freedom class littoral combat ship us navy marinette marine mq-8b fire scout uav

freedom class littoral combat ship lcs

freedom class lcs us navy

freedom class littoral combat ship mk-110 57mm gun

mk-110 57 mm naval gun system freedom class lcs

freedom class lcs mk-46 30mm gun mk-49 missile launcher rim-116 rolling airframe missile

mk-46 30 mm gun mk-49 launcher rim-116 rolling airframe missile ram freedom class

freedom class lcs mk-49 launcher rim-116 rolling airframe missile

freedom class lcs flight deck

freedom class littoral combat ship lcs flight deck seahawk fire scout

freedom class lcs flight deck stern gate mission bay rhib

freedom class lcs flight deck mq-8b fire scout uav

freedom class lcs hangar helicopter

freedom class lcs mission bay rhib

freedom class lcs bridge helm

freedom class littoral combat ship bridge view

freedom class littoral combat ship lcs armament mk-110 57mm gun mk-46 30mm mk-49 launcher rim-116 ram


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