- This July 28, 2008 file photo provided by Lockheed-Martin via the
U.S. Navy shows USS Freedom, the first ship in the Navy's new Littoral
Combat Ship (LCS) class, from Marietta, Wis. Production costs for the
latest class of warships have come down so much that the Navy wants to
double its planned orders from shipbuilders in Wisconsin and Alabama,
U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl said Thursday Nov. 4, 2010. The very first littoral
combat ship was the USS Freedom, which was built in 2008 by Marinette
Marine and produced by its partner, Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda,
Md. The Freedom was expected to cost $220 million but the final price
tag was closer to $550 million. (AP Photo/Lockheed-Martin via U.S. Navy,
The Navy littoral combat ship Freedom will head to Singapore for a 10-month deployment in the spring of 2013.
warship will be forward stationed in the Asian city-state under a
program to place a vessel there for a lengthy stretch but rotate crews
in and out.
mentioned the timing at a media telephone conference Wednesday, during
which it also defended the ship in the face of a leaked internal report
that showed the Freedom performing poorly in a pre-inspection.
will be the second deployment for the San Diego-based Freedom, the
first ship in a new vessel class that is supposed to be fast, light and
versatile for coastal patroling, but that also has been dogged by
criticism about early performance and questions about whether it can
survive a battle.
The Freedom arrived in San Diego in April 2010 after a maiden deployment from the Florida to San Diego.
vessel has spent time in the shipyard since then, in part to repair
cracks found in her hull. The Freedom is now preparing for its “final
exam,” the congressionally mandated Board of Inspection and Survey test.
Failing an “INSURV” is an enormous black eye in the Navy.
early May pre-INSURV inspection report – something that isn't usually
released but leaked out in a Navy-related blog – shows that half of the
inspected areas were rated “red,” or no-go, according to a Navy Times
story Wednesday night. Eight categories received yellow marks, while six
were rated green, or go.
spokesman at Naval Surface Forces in San Diego said the Freedom isn't
the only ship to not fare well in a pre-INSURV review, called a Type
Commander Material Inspection Team evaluation. The Navy started
performing these pre-inspections last summer as a way to tell if a ship
was in danger of failing the final exam.
mid-2011, the San Diego-based ship command has conducted eleven of
these pre-inspections. Of these, six ships – including the Freedom –
were characterized as "high risk/no go" for INSURV, three as "medium
risk" and two as "Ready to Proceed," said spokesman Cmdr. Jason Salata
in a written statement.
The Freedom gets two more rehearsals before it will face the big INSURV test.
in the conference call, the admiral in charge of the littoral program
addressed complaints that the ships can't take a fight. A 2011 report by
the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation said that
the littorals are "not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat
James Murdoch said that given the choice of a littoral ship or an
antiquated mine sweeper vessel, he'd rather see his children serving on a
"Would I rather
have them on a 228-foot, wooden-hulled minesweeper with 50 caliber guns,
or would I rather have them on LCS, which has speed, maneuverability,
air search radars, a self-defense missile, and the capability to
remotely operate vehicles to hunt and neutralize mines," Murdoch said.
"That’s a pretty simple answer, in my mind. I don’t have a lot of concern about the adequacy of the design."