The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) June 6 during a ceremony held at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette. Fort Worth is the third littoral combat ship (LCS) delivered to the Navy, and the second LCS of the steel, semi-planing monohull Freedom variant.
Prior to delivery, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted acceptance trials aboard LCS 3. INSURV found LCS 3 to be “highly capable, well-built and inspection ready,” and recommended the vessel be accepted.
“Fort Worth showed significant improvement during her trials when compared to the first ship of the class, USS Freedom,” said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer for Littoral Combat Ships. “We’ve had two years to operate Freedom at sea, identifying typical, first-of-class deficiencies, learning lessons on her design and rolling those lessons into Fort Worth. That experience, plus the introduction of improved construction processes and shipbuilder facilities, greatly benefitted Fort Worth.”
Delivery is the last shipbuilding milestone before commissioning, scheduled for Sept. 22 in Galveston, Texas. Once commissioned, Fort Worth will join sister ships USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2).
The Lockheed Martin team now has Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), and Sioux City (LCS 11) under construction at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette. Austal USA has Coronado (LCS 4), Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), and Omaha (LCS 12) in production at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
LCS is a high speed, agile, shallow-draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed for operation in near-shore environments yet fully capable of open-ocean operation. Fort Worth, a high-speed steel mono-hull ship, is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 387-foot Fort Worth will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly, and focus on three mission areas: mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
PEO LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining credible littoral mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to achieve steady production to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability are key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.
Naval Today Staff , June 7, 2012; Image: US Navy