USS Independence

The US Navy has awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin and Austal for the construction of four additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

Lockheed was awarded $696.6m to design and construct two LCS ships. Work under the contract will be performed at Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Florida, New Jersey, Minnesota and various locations in the US.

Austal received $681.7m for the design and construction of LCS 14 and LCS 16.

With each LCS costing $480m, a total of 20 ships in two different hull designs will be acquired by the navy from both companies between 2010 and 2015.

Austal is building the Independence-class aluminum trimaran LCSs, while Lockheed is constructing the Freedom-class semi-planing monohull ships.

The networked surface combatant ship has a full-load displacement of 2,637t, an operational range of 4,300nm and can cruise at a speed of 40k.

Aimed to fill the operational combat requirements gaps currently in the US navy, the LCS programme will support in defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.

The LCS ships feature technologically advanced weapons, sensors, data fusion, C4ISR, hullform, propulsion, optimal manning concepts, smart control systems and self-defence systems to support the US Navy’s combat operations in an adverse littoral environment.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is supporting Austal for the LCS programme and is responsible for design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems for combat, networks, and seaframe control.

Austal and Lockheed will complete work under the contract by June and July 2018, respectively.

Image: USS Independence (LCS 2) stationed at Mole Pier at Naval Air Station Key West. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Nicholas Kontodiakos/Released.

Defence Technology