USS Freedom with new paint scheme (all photos : Lockheed Martin)
FORT MEADE, (IMP) -- During a media availability Feb. 21, Navy officials announced the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is on track to begin its first deployment March 1.
This milestone was announced by the LCS Council, a group established by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert Aug. 22, to oversee continued fleet testing and the introduction of the LCS.
"Addressing challenges identified by these studies, on the timeline we require, necessitates the establishment of an empowered council to drive the action across acquisition, requirements and fleet enterprises of the Navy," said Greenert.
The output of the council is intended to assist in maximizing the expansive potential capabilities of LCS and its associated mission packages in global fleet operations for the joint warfighter.
"I am confident we are on a path of success for LCS," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "This council will continue to unify our efforts to implement operational lessons learned from our research and development ships to further ensure successful fleet integration."
LCS ships are designed to employ mission packages that address capability gaps in the areas of surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. Due to its modular design, each LCS ship can be reconfigured to perform one of those three distinct missions in a short period of time.
Freedom's deployment will demonstrate her operational capabilities, and allow the LCS Council to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans.
The ship will operate forward from Singapore and spend eight months in theater conducting maritime security operations, participate in international exhibitions and exercises to highlight U.S. strategic intent in the region, and reassure U.S. partners through bilateral and multilateral interoperability.