The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials (RWT) in late March the Navy reported May 21.
The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a series of at-sea tests and inspections. These are designed to ensure the hull design is able to navigate through and withstand forces due to inclement weather and high sea state conditions.
During the RWT Freedom collected data while operating in sea states 5 and 6 (approximately 8-20 foot waves) off the coast of Oregon for a total of 11 days. The ship was steered in an octagonal route at speeds ranging from dead stop to flank speed to capture data on performance at all speeds and orientations.
The test team collected data to measure stress, torsion, and strain on the ship structure. Over the next few months the data will be further analyzed to compare the actual performance of the LCS class Freedom variant to its modeled performance.
Initial test results are positive, the machinery plant and auxiliaries all performed well, especially in the context of the sustained operations at sea. Once validated, the results will provide the Navy with the conditions (speed and heading variations) under which it should operate the Freedom variant ships in elevated sea states. The ship’s crew members were also equipped with accelerometers and sensors to evaluate human factors such as sleep and potential sea sickness due to ship motions.
Image: US Navy