The US Navy will commission its newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Cincinnati this weekend.
USS Cincinnati will be the ninth Independence-class LCS to enter commission with the US Navy. The ship will be the 20th LCS of a planned 32 ships consisting of two different classes, Independence and Freedom.
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said: “USS Cincinnati and her crew will play an important role in the defence of our nation and maritime freedom.
“She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Strength in Unity’ worldwide thanks to their efforts.”
The LCS vessels are being developed for the US Navy by two companies; Lockheed Martin leads construction of the Freedom Class and Austal USA leads the Independence Class. Production alternates between the two companies, with Lockheed building odd-numbered hulls and Austal building even-numbered hulls.
The Department of Defense (DoD) said: “LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region.
“An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas.”
The LCS programme began in 2002 and was designed by the US Navy to cut the time needed to acquire new ships. originally the Navy planned to acquire 50 LCS but this original requirement was reduced to the current level.
The US Navy plans to procure 44 LCS mission packages, 10 anti-submarine warfare (ASW), 24 mine countermeasure (MCM), and 10 surface warfare (SUW) modules for the LCS, giving the navy flexibility to outfit the ships with the capabilities to counter current threats.
The LCS is also set to provide flexibility in terms of crew; whereas most US Navy Frigates require around 200 sailors to operate, the LCS can be operated by 88 personnel. The US Navy has signalled it plans to alternately crew LCS meaning they can spend longer at sea.
The Independence-class ships feature a trimaran (three-hulled) design and are designed to carry an extra mission module onboard allowing the ship to change focus without having to be refitted in port. The ship also features an angular design to reduce its radar profile.