U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One completed the merging process of core crews and mission detachments to kick off the new operational concept for LCS ships.
Announced in September last year, the changes include a transition from the initial three-crews-for-two-ships concept to a gold-blue crew concept. Additionally, the number of sailors in a core crew is being increased from 50 to 70 sailors.
The first four ships in the class – Freedom, Fort Worth, Independence and Coronado are becoming training ships. The ships will be making fewer deployments and will focus on testing mission modules and new technologies.
“The merger enables our sailors to become experts in their mission areas and assigned duties while minimizing the potential for sailor burn-out we saw in the initial minimal manning concept,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Golson, director of mission packages at Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One.
The initial LCS operational concept called for minimally manned crews to rotate on and off hull, while being supplemented by modular mission packages and accompanying rotating mission package detachments. The review team determined ships should retain a single-mission focus and merge core crews and mission detachments.
Although the crew-detachment merger has LCS crews transitioning toward a single mission focus, the LCS program, as a whole, will retain its modularity, the U.S. Navy said.
In the event that a different mission package is required for an operational requirement, either an entirely different configured LCS will be employed, or the original designated ship will embark a new mission package and appropriately qualified crew.
All LCS crew and detachment mergers are scheduled for completion by 2021.