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Navy’s Latest LCS Clears Critical Test

Posted by Carlo Munoz on

Washington: The Navy is a step closer to getting another one of its next-generation warships into the service arsenal.

The USS Fort Worth, the third vessel in the Navy’s new class of Littoral Combat Ships wrapped up sea trials this week, according to a statement issued by shipbuilder Lockheed Martin.

The sea trials, run jointly by the Navy and Lockheed, are the final step before Navy acceptance trials, where the service will determine whether the ship is ready to join the fleet.

Pending the outcome of those acceptance trials, the Navy expects to have the Fort Worth in the fleet no later than next year.

The USS Freedom, the first LCS built by Lockheed, and the USS Independence built by LCS competitor Austal USA, are already in service with the Navy.

Testers ran the ship’s propulsion, command and control and navigation systems through a bevy of real-world combat scenarios.

“The rigorous trial period included maneuverability tests; high-speed runs; power and navigation system checks; rescue boat launch and recovery; and tracking exercises, as well as other ship and system evaluations,” according to the statement.
Lockheed and industry partner Marinette Marine have already begun construction on the fifth LCS, USS Milwaukee.

While getting these ships into service is a high-priority for the Navy budget pressures may throw those plans a little off course, Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer for LCS, said last week. The Navy must consider some difficult choices for its fleet, and the LCS is no exception. The “well founded” instances of excessive cost growth on the first two ships does not help the Navy’s argument, Murdoch conceded.

But the service has been pushing hard to rein in those costs and “we are doing well with that” — especially on the USS Fort Worth and the Austal-built USS Coronado, the fourth LCS, Murdoch said.

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