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Freedom class

Littoral combat ship

Freedom class

The Freedom is a class of small and fast vessels, that are designed to operate close to the shore

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 2008
Crew 115 men
Sea endurance 21 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 115 m
Beam 17.5 m
Draught 3.9 m
Displacement, standard 3 100 tons
Displacement, full load 3 500 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 47 knots
Range 6 500 km at 18 knots
Propulsion x Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW gas turbines, 2 x Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, 4 x Rolls-Royce waterjets, 4 x Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel engines, 4 x diesel generators
Airwing
Helicopters 1 x MH-60R/S, or 2 x MQ-8
Armament
Artillery 1 x 57 mm gun, 2 x 30 mm guns
Missiles 24 x AGM-114L Hellfire, 21 x RIM-116 air defense missiles

 

   The Freedom class is a new US Navy's class of small multi-purpose vessels. In the US these vessels are referred as Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs). These are small and fast vessels, intended to operate in littoral zones i.e. close to the shore. These are designed to combat with small craft, rather than equal warships. These ships are designed to have a shallow draft and operate at high speed.

   Originally planned almost 20 years ago as the "Streetfighter" concept, the LCS was to be a 1 -000 ton multi-role corvette. However it evolved into a much larger design.

   In the early 2000s the US Navy planned to acquire new multipurpose warships. The construction was planned initially for 2 variants – the Freedom and Independence class. In 2003, when the program was formalized and funded, it was decided that there were supposed to be 50 of these LCSs afloat in short order. However it looks like these numbers were reduced significantly.

   The Freedom class is built by Lockheed Martin in alliance with Gibbs & Cox, Marinette Marine and Bollinger Shipyards. The first ship of the class, the USS Freedom, was laid down in 2005. It was launched in 2008 and underwent trials and subsequent repairs and improvements before getting commissioned in during the same year. As of 2017 four ships of this class are in service with the US Navy and 8 more ships are ordered. These replace in service the larger Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates.

   The ship has a semi-planing monohull with aluminum superstructure. The Freedom class has a reconfigurable seaframe, that can be fitted with interchangeable mission modules. Most upgrades can be performed ashore and installed later into the ship. It allows to keep the ship on deployment for the maximum time.

   The Freedom class has a flight deck with hangar and can support helicopter. The hangar accommodates either one MH-60R or MH-60S Seahawk helicopter or, alternatively, two MQ-8 Fire Scout drones. The ship uses a Trigon traversing system to move helicopter in and out of the hangar. It also has a 3-axis crane to move loads aboard the deck.

   The ship has four  Fincantieri Isotta-Fraschini diesel generators, rated at 750-800 kW each. These provide 3 MW off electrical power which allows the ship to go as fast as 47 knots (87 km/h). The ship has a displacement of 3 500 metric tons at full load.

  The third ship of the class, the USS Milwaukee, is fitted with cavitation water jets, that are capable of increasing the ships efficiency by 10%, and reducing its noise.

   The Freedom class is armed with a BAE Mk.110 57 mm naval gun with 400 rounds ammunition. It also has two 30 mm Mk.44 Bushmaster II guns and four 12.7 mm machine guns. There are a total of 24 AGM-114L Hellfire missiles and Mk.49 launcher loaded with 21 RIM-116 RAM Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs) for air defense. Other weapons can be carried as part of mission modules, such as Harpoon anti-ship missiles, SM-2 or ESSM surface-to-air missiles.

   These warships are being often criticized due to their light armament, which is typically carried by offshore patrol vessels, and large displacement of the frigates.

   A Freedom class ship is managed by a total of 115 crew members. The core crew consists of 40 sailors, while remaining 75 members are mission crew and aviation detachment.

   The Freedom class ship is to be equipped with TRS-4D naval radar. It is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) built by Airbus Defense and Space. The ship also has Lockheed Martin’s combat management system COMBATSS-21 and AN/SQR-20 towed array to search for submarines.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 2005 2008 2008

active, in service

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 2009 2010 2012

active, in service

USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)

2011 2013 2015

active, in service

USS Detroit (LCS-7)

2012 2014 2016

active, in service

USS Little Rock (LCS-9)

2013 2015 ?

sea trials

USS Sioux City (LCS-11)

2014 2016 ?

under construction

USS Wichita (LCS-13)

2015 ? ?

under construction

USS Billings (LCS-15)

2015 ? ?

under construction

USS Indianapolis (LCS-17)

2016 ? ?

under construction

USS St. Louis (LCS-19)

? ? ?

ordered

USS Minneapolis / St. Paul (LCS-21)

? ? ?

ordered

USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)

? ? ?

ordered

 

Rahul Singh Dhari

   Article by RAHUL SINGH DHARI

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Freedom class

Freedom class

Freedom class

Freedom class

Freedom class


 
Freedom class

Freedom class

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