Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter has named the Navy's newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – Independence.
“Independence, along with USS Freedom, are going to be great 21st century ships. Their speed and agility are widely recognized. I believe that their modular approach yields tremendous flexibility for employing these ships and for taking the fight right to the enemy’s shoreline," Winter said.
The name Independence recognizes the cornerstone of our nation’s foundation that so many Americans have fought and died to ensure. Five previous ships have also had that name. The first Independence was a 10-gun sloop that served during the War of Independence. The second Independence, the first ship of the line in the Navy, was launched in 1814 as a 74-gun ship, but later refitted to a 54-gun frigate. The third Independence served with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) following the end of World War I. The fourth Independence (CVL-22), a small aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943, earned eight battle stars during World War II. The fifth Independence (CV-62) was an aircraft carrier commissioned in 1959 and decommissioned in 1998.
In developing capability to overcome access denial threats from surface and subsurface threats in the littoral, the Navy sought improved mine warfare capability, an effective counter to small, fast, highly-armed boats, and a ship better suited against quiet diesel submarines. These capabilities highlighted the need for a high-speed, shallow-draft vessel with endurance. The littoral combat ships are designed to meet that need.
The littoral combat ships are the first Navy vessels to separate capability from hull form and provide a robust, affordable, mission-focused warship designed to provide assured access for our joint forces. Independence will have the size, speed, endurance, and connectivity to deploy as a member of carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups or surface strike groups.
Independence will carry some core capabilities, such as self-defense and command and control; but its true war-fighting capability will come from its innovative and tailored mission modules. Like its sister ship, LCS 2 will be configured for one mission package at a time, consisting of modules, manned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, off-board sensors, and mission-manning detachments, all in an open-systems architecture.
In May 2004, the Department of Defense awarded both Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics separate contract options for final-system design with options for detail design and construction of up to two LCS ships. The future USS Independence (LCS 2) is the General Dynamics’ lead hull in that ship design.
In October 2005, the Department of Navy awarded General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, a contract for detail design and construction of their first LCS. General Dynamics - Bath Iron Works teammates include Austal USA of Mobile, Ala. and General Dynamics – AIS of Pittsfield, Mass. A keel laying ceremony was held Jan. 19, 2006, at Austal USA Shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
For more information on the Littoral Combat Ship, visit http://peoships.crane.navy.mil/lcs/ or call the Navy newsdesk at 703-697-5342.