The third and final

In June, the U.S. Navy began conducting Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) for the Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Jackson (LCS-6) off the coast of Florida. The purpose of FSST is to validate the operational survivability of new construction ships after exposure to underwater shock. Three tests were scheduled for the ship and each test was conducted with a 10,000-pound/4,536-kg explosive charge.

Austal awarded U.S. Navy contract modification for USS Jackson (LCS-6) shock trials support
Austal awarded U.S. Navy contract modification for USS Jackson (LCS-6) shock trials support

On Saturday July 16, USS Jackson (LCS-6) was subjected to the third and final underwater explosion as part of her FSST. There were reports of increased seismic activity around the time of the test. The ship performed exceptionally well, sustaining minimal damage and returned to port under her own power. A large amount of data was collected during FSST on the majority of shipboard systems and the U.S. Navy will compile and analyze the data over the next several months.

Prior to any testing, the U.S. Navy ensures an exclusion zone is established around the test location. A Notice to Mariners (NOTAM) is released before each shot stating that hazardous conditions to surface vessels may be present and for vessels not involved in the test to remain clear. Similarly, the U.S. Navy takes the safety and security of marine mammals seriously, and all testing is executed to avoid the various migration patterns of marine life. Additional lookouts are posted to detect any marine mammal activity and test shots are not conducted if marine mammals are in proximity.

As part of the test program for the Littoral Combat Ship, the U.S. Navy is preparing to conduct FSST on a Freedom variant ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), later this summer off the coast of Florida.

The last FSST was conducted in 2008 for USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19). It was also conducted off the coast of Florida.

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 417 feet/127.1 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules
Launch of USS Omaha (LCS 12) at Austal USA facility - Mobile, Alabama
Launch of USS Omaha (LCS 12) at Austal USA facility – Mobile, Alabama

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)

 

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