The U.S. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard USS Independence (LCS 2) July 24 as the ship participated in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise off the coast of Hawaii.
During RIMPAC, the largest international maritime exercise in the world, Independence, the second littoral combat ship to be commissioned, has been conducting exercises including gunfire exercises, tactical maneuvering, search and seizure boarding, and multi-ship air defense, anti-submarine and surface warfare exercises.
“They can accomplish an amazing variety of missions,” said Mabus. “They’ve done everything from acting as a staging base for special forces to participating in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief exercises.”
Prior to RIMPAC, Independence was conducting testing and evaluation of the ship’s Mine Countermeasures (MCM) mission module of the coast of San Diego.
For their participation in RIMPAC, the ship shifted to its Surface Warfare (SUW) mission module, a change that exhibited one of the primary strengths of LCS.
“LCS gives you two things we don’t have in the fleet,” said Mabus, “modularity and very high speed. Independence is a great example of that.”
“They were told they were coming to RIMPAC and they put on the surface warfare module and came out here. They did not need to be refueled at sea and got here (to Hawaii from San Diego) with 30-percent of their fuel still in the tank.”
The SUW mission module includes two 30mm gun turrets and two 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boats.
During his time aboard LCS, Mabus had lunch with junior Sailors, observed a boarding exercise and met with Sailors in workspaces throughout the ship, coming away impressed with their skill and ability.
“I think that now, and in the future, LCS will fit the needs of the Navy,” he said.
Press Release, July 29, 2014