The US Navy's third Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship, Fort Worth (LCS-3), has successfully completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan prior to its delivery and launch later this year.
During the four-hour full-power trial run, the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) tested the ship's propulsion plant, ship handling and auxiliary systems.
The ship demonstrated its combat management system capability in addition to major systems and features, which include aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery, and ride control, as a part of the acceptance trials.
The Fort Worth's acceptance trials followed the vessel's initial builder's trials run in October 2011, intended to determine its operational readiness.
LCS programme manager captain John Neagley said: "The ship's level of completion coupled with Marinette Marine's excellent craftsmanship resulted in relatively few material deficiencies."
The programme aims to fill the critical, urgent operational combat requirements gaps that currently exist in the navy to defeat littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.
LCS ships are designed to support launch and recovery operations of manned and unmanned vehicles and can execute specific missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.
The Freedom-variant LCSs include USS Freedom (LCS 1), being prepared for second deployment, while Milwaukee (LCS 5) and Detroit (LCS 7) are currently under construction.
Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) are in the early stages of planning and material procurement, which were funded in March 2012.
The US Navy will receive a total of 20 ships in two different hull designs, costing $480m each between 2010 and 2015, of which Lockheed Martin team, including Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), will construct ten Freedom-class monohull ships for the navy.
Image: The US Navy's third Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), completes acceptance trials. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.