Category Archives: Navy

Christening of Dakota

The U.S. Navy christened its newest attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota (SSN-790), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, October 14, at General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut.

Ship sponsor, Deanie Dempsey, christens the USS South Dakota
Ship sponsor, Deanie Dempsey, christens the USS South Dakota

Governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard delivered the ceremony’s principal address. The submarine’s sponsor is Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, wife of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Dempsey breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored U.S. Navy tradition.

«Today’s christening of South Dakota brings this submarine one step closer to joining our strong fleet», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «For decades to come, this boat and the Sailors who will serve on it will stand as a tribute to the patriotic people of South Dakota and a testament to the value of the partnership between the Department of the Navy and our industry teammates».

USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class submarine designated SSN-790, is the third ship to bear the state’s name. The second ship was a battleship that stood as the lead ship of her class and earned 13 battle stars during her extensive service in the Pacific theater during World War II.

USS South Dakota (SSN-790) is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine and the seventh Virginia-class Block III submarine. The ship began construction in 2013 and is contracted to deliver in August 2018. USS South Dakota (SSN-790) will provide the U.S. Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.

Block III Virginia-class submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The USS South Dakota crew poses at the site of SSN 790’s construction in Groton, Connecticut
The USS South Dakota crew poses at the site of SSN 790’s construction in Groton, Connecticut

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.06 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.36 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 2 × 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)
The official crest for the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) includes a wide variety of imagery representing South Dakota and its history
The official crest for the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) includes a wide variety of imagery representing South Dakota and its history

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB 10-14-17
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

An additional LCS

The U.S. Navy awarded the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) team a contract to build an additional LCS. The contract value is under the 2017 congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship.

The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the fifth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan on August 25, 2017
The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the fifth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan on August 25, 2017

LCS-27 will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, the Midwest’s only naval shipyard, and is the 14th Freedom-variant LCS ordered by the U.S. Navy to date.

«We are excited to continue our partnership with the U.S. Navy to build and deliver these capable ships to the fleet», said Joe DePietro, vice president of small surface combatants and ship systems. «With the Freedom-variant now in serial production, our team is increasing efficiency with each ship produced and working to maintain ship and program affordability».

Since the LCS program’s inception, Freedom-variant LCS production has injected hundreds of millions of dollars into local economies throughout the Midwest. The program supports thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout the United States, including more than 7,500 in Michigan and Wisconsin alone.

«Every day, more than 2,500 workers pass through our shipyard’s gates, put on their hard hats and proudly build these American warships», said Jan Allman, FMM president and CEO. «Our workforce takes great pride in building these ships for the U.S. Navy and we are grateful for the opportunity to build another ship on our hot production line».

The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date, including the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) which was delivered to the U.S. Navy on September 25. There are seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with two more in long-lead production.

The Freedom-variant LCS team is comprised of Lockheed Martin, shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. The industry team invested over $ 100 million to modernize the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, hire additional staff and train a new workforce. This private investment helped the shipyard achieve full-rate production and create new Midwest manufacturing jobs.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25
LCS-27

 

Preserving Peace,
Prepared for War

The U.S. Navy with assistance from the submarine’s sponsor Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia class submarine, USS Washington (SSN-787), during a ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, October 7.

USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk
USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk

Washington, named in honor of the 42nd state, is the 14th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the U.S. Navy’s operational fleet. Elisabeth Mabus expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families.

«I know, though you are all eager to set out on the Washington, this like all naval service will requires you to be away from your families for long stretches, so thank you to the families», said Mabus. «In a very real sense you are plank owners of this ship as well».

Mabus gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life» before the crew of about 130 men ran across the brow, onto the vessel.

Washington is the fourth of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT) designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch/53.34 cm diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch/2.2 m diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

«We won’t know what challenges we will face as a nation in 10, 15 or 20 years, but we know because of the work being done now at Newport News and Electric Boat and by the Sailors who call this ship home, USS Washington will be prepared for whatever is to come», said Mabus.

USS Washington (SSN-787) commanding officer, Commander Gabriel Cavazos, highlighted the Washington’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.

«As I have told the crew on many occasions, they are the most important component of the ship. They give the ship its personality and warfighting spirit. Without the crew, Washington would not be the warfighting platform she was built to be; however, combine the two, and, together, we are the Blackfish», said Cavazos.

«Today USS Washington is alive and stands ready for mission. Thank you for being here to celebrate this momentous occasion with us», said Cavazos.

Washington is the fourth U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be named honoring the State of Washington. The previous three ships were an armored cruiser, (ACR-11), which served from 1905 to 1916, the battleship (BB-47) a Colorado-class battleship launched in 1921 and sunk as a gunnery target in 1924 after her construction was halted, and the battleship (BB-56) credited with sinking more enemy tonnage than any other U.S. Navy battleship during World War II, serving from 1941 to 1947.

USS Washington (SSN-787) is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW); Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW); delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and mine warfare. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The submarine is 377 feet/114.8 m long, has a 34-foot/10.36 m beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800+ feet/244+ m and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling.

Construction on Washington began September 2011; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on November 22, 2014; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony March 5, 2016.

The submarine's sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
The submarine’s sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 2 × 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17  Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Pre-Commissioning Unit Washington (SSN-787) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials. Washington is scheduled to be commissioned October 7, 2017 at Naval Station Norfolk

FFG(X) program

As part of its FY2018 budget submission, the U.S. Navy has initiated a new program, called the FFG(X) program, to build a new class of guided-missile frigates. The U.S. Navy wants to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020, a second FFG(X) in FY2021, and two FFG(X)s per year starting in FY2022. Given current Navy force-structure goals, the U.S. Navy might procure a total of 8 to 20 FFG(X)s. The U.S. Navy’s proposed FY2018 budget requests $143.5 million in research and development funding for the program.

Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program
Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program
U.S. Navy frigates are smaller, less capable, and less expensive to procure and operate than U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers. In contrast to cruisers and destroyers, which are designed to operate in higher-threat areas, frigates are generally intended to operate more in lower-threat areas. The U.S. Navy envisages the FFG(X) as a multimission ship capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW, aka air defense) operations, Anti-Surface Warfare operations (ASuW, meaning operations against enemy surface ships and craft), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations, and Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW) operations (EMW is a new term for electronic warfare).

Although the U.S. Navy has not yet determined the design of the FFG(X), given the desired capabilities just mentioned, the ship will likely be larger in terms of displacement, more heavily armed, and more expensive to procure than the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs). The U.S. Navy envisages developing no new technologies or systems for the FFG(X) – the ship is to use systems and technologies that already exist or are already being developed for use in other programs.

The U.S. Navy’s desire to procure the first FFG(X) in FY2020 does not allow enough time to develop a completely new design (i.e., a clean-sheet design) for the FFG(X). (Using a clean-sheet design might defer the procurement of the first ship to about FY2023.) Consequently, the U.S. Navy intends to build the FFG(X) to a modified version of an existing ship design – an approach called the parent-design approach. The parent design could be a U.S. ship design or a foreign ship design. The U.S. Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition to select the builder of the FFG(X), including proposals based on either U.S. or foreign ship designs. Given the currently envisaged procurement rate of two ships per year, the U.S. Navy envisages using a single builder to build the ships.

The FFG(X) program presents several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the U.S. Navy’s FY2018 funding request for the program;
  • whether the U.S. Navy has accurately identified the capability gaps and mission needs to be addressed by the program;
  • whether procuring a new class of FFGs is the best or most promising general approach for addressing the identified capability gaps and mission needs;
  • the U.S. Navy’s proposed acquisition strategy for the program, including the U.S. Navy’s intent to use a parent-design approach for the program rather than develop an entirely new (i.e., clean-sheet) design for the ship;
  • the potential implications of the FFG(X) program for the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base; and
  • whether the initiation of the FFG(X) program has any implications for required numbers or capabilities of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers.

Keel Authenticated

The U.S. Navy held a keel laying and authentication ceremony for its tenth Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, USNS Burlington (EPF-10), September 26.

The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank
The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank

The keel was said to be «truly and fairly laid» as it was authenticated by William Pfister, Vice President Emeritus of Austal USA, signing his initials into the keel plate. As the keel is the symbolic backbone of a ship, the keel laying ceremony is a major milestone in the construction process.

«EPFs are incredibly versatile and an asset to the Navy’s fleet», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. «With the production consistency that has been demonstrated in the program over the years, I look forward to seeing EPF 10 continue to progress towards delivery».

EPFs are non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

EPFs support a variety of missions including the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces, and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts. EPFs are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. Burlington will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.

The EPF program delivered its eighth ship, USNS Yuma, earlier this year and USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9) is preparing for its second set of sea trials before delivery later this year. USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11) started construction earlier this year and EPF-12 started construction earlier this week.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
MISSION BAY
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
ACCOMMODATIONS
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
PROPULSION
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
PERFORMANCE
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
AVIATION FACILITIES
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Completed acceptance trials

USNS Bismark (EPF-9), Completed builder’s trials

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Under construction

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS EPF-12, On order

Delivery of Little Rock

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) during a ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard, September 25.

The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) underway during a high-speed run in Lake Michigan during Acceptance Trials. Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine successfully completed acceptance trials on the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), August 25 (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) underway during a high-speed run in Lake Michigan during Acceptance Trials. Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine successfully completed acceptance trials on the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), August 25 (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

USS Little Rock (LCS-9) is the 11th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to be delivered to the U.S. Navy and the fifth of the Freedom variant to join the fleet. Delivery marks the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder, part of a Lockheed Martin-led team, to the U.S. Navy. It is the final milestone prior to commissioning, which is planned for December in Buffalo, New York.

«Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Little Rock, an exceptional ship which will conduct operations around the globe», said Captain Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. «I look forward to seeing Little Rock join her sister ships this fall, with 100 percent of propulsion power available for unrestricted use».

Captain Shawn Johnston, commander, LCS Squadron Two (COMLCSRON TWO), welcomed Little Rock to the fleet.

«We are excited to welcome the future USS Little Rock to the Fleet», Johnston said. «Successful completion of this milestone is another important step to bring more LCS to the Fleet. We look forward to completing the building phase of Little Rock and moving on to the operational and deployment phases of each subsequent LCS. Our ability to operate for extended periods of time from forward operating stations will provide our Fleet commanders more flexibility and posture overseas».

COMLCSRON ONE and TWO support the operational commanders with warships ready for tasking by manning, training, equipping and maintaining littoral combat ships in the fleet.

Several additional ships of the Freedom variant are under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The future USS Sioux City (LCS-11) is preparing for trials later this fall. The future USS Wichita (LCS-13) was christened/launched in September 2016 and is currently conducting system testing in the Menominee River, preparing for trials in the spring of 2018. The future USS Billings (LCS-15) was christened and launched in July and is projected to commence trials in the fall of 2018. The future USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) is preparing for launch this winter while the future USS St. Louis (LCS-19)’s keel was laid earlier this spring and is undergoing construction in FMM’s erection bays. The future USS Minneapolis St. Paul (LCS-21) started fabrication in February while the future USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) started fabrication in September. The future USS Marinette (LCS-25) is in the pre-production phase, having been awarded in 2016.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship with three types of mission packages including Surface Warfare, Mine Countermeasures, and Anti-Submarine Warfare. Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

The LCS-class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls). Twenty-seven LCS ships have been awarded to date: 11 have been delivered to the U.S. Navy, 13 are in various stages of construction, and three are in pre-production states.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25

 

Welcome to the fleet

With a zealous crowd and great fanfare, the guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart (DDG-39) was commissioned in to the Royal Australian Navy fleet in a formal ceremony at Garden Island in Sydney on 23 September 2017.

HMAS Hobart III
HMAS Hobart III

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull joined with other dignitaries, ship’s company and family and friends to welcome the newest ship to the Australian Fleet.

Mr. Turnbull said Australia plays a leading role in ensuring the world remains at peace.

«In these uncertain times, a strong, well equipped Australian Defence Force is absolutely critical», he said. «The commissioning of HMAS Hobart provides clear evidence of our determination to keep Australians safe and ensure we are ready and able to meet the challenges that come our way in the years ahead. Wherever she may travel around the world, Hobart will serve our nation and take action in Australia’s name».

The third Australian Navy ship to carry the name Hobart will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft.

Hobart’s state-of-the-art Aegis combat system, including the phased array radar and missile systems, will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometres/93 miles/81 NM.

She will also be capable of undersea warfare and be equipped with modern sonar systems, decoys, surface-launched torpedoes and an array of effective close-in defensive weapons

Commanding Officer, Hobart, Captain John Stavridis said the ship will be the most complex and capable warship ever operated by Australia.

«She is as powerful as she is potent and is every bit a destroyer», he said. «Her sensors and weapons are leading edge and she is capable of conducting the full span of maritime security operations. However, without the 185 men and women who serve in her, she is just another ship alongside. To be a warship requires a specialist team who are masters in their individual skills and are capable of working collectively to achieve the mission. I am blessed with such a crew, who are both proficient and professional».

The ceremony included the breaking of the commissioning pennant and hoisting of the Australian White Ensign for the first time, at which point, Hobart became the responsibility of Captain Stavridis.

Witnessing the historic occasion were sailors from the former Hobarts which served with distinction in the Second World and Vietnam Wars.

The ship's company of HMAS Hobart line the upper decks and cheer ship during HMAS Hobart’s Commissioning Ceremony held at Garden Island, Sydney
The ship’s company of HMAS Hobart line the upper decks and cheer ship during HMAS Hobart’s Commissioning Ceremony held at Garden Island, Sydney

 

Characteristics

Length 481.3 feet/146.7 m
Beam 61 feet/18.6 m
Draft 23.6 feet/7.2 m
Full load displacement 7,000 tonnes
Main Engine 36 MW/48,276 hp
Top speed 28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range at 18+ knots/21 mph/33 km/h 5,000+ NM/5,779 miles/9,300 km
Crew 186
Accommodation 234
Combat System Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1
AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radar (81 NM/93 miles/150 km)
AN/SPQ-9B Horizon Search Radar
Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (48 VLS cells: RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)/Standard Missile-2 (SM-2)/SM-6)
Mk-45 Mod.4 5” (127-mm) 62 Calibre Gun (Range: 20 NM/23 miles/37 km)
Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control (2 × 4 launchers)
Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite
Very Short Range Air and Surface Defence
Nulka Active Missile Decoy system
Integrated Sonar System incorporating a hull mounted and towed array sonar
Communications Suite
Aviation Flightdeck and hangar for one helicopter
Boats Two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)

 

Product Development

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $5.1 billion Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) contract to complete the design of the lead Columbia-class submarine – USS Columbia (SSBN-826), the nation’s next-generation sea-based strategic deterrent. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD).

General Dynamics awarded $5 billion for design of U.S. Navy’s next ballistic-missile submarine
General Dynamics awarded $5 billion for design of U.S. Navy’s next ballistic-missile submarine

«Working closely with the U.S. Navy and the submarine industrial base, Electric Boat will continue to lead critical aspects of the Columbia-class development effort, including design, material procurement, construction and operating-cost reduction, to achieve an affordable and effective program», said Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger.

The IPPD contract includes funding for component and technology development as well as continued development of the Common Missile Compartment, which will be integrated into both the U.S. Navy’s new SSBN and the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought-class strategic missile submarine.

Construction of the lead Columbia-class submarine is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020. The U.S. Navy plans to build a fleet of 12 new SSBNs.

The contract announced today follows a five-year, $1.85 billion award Electric Boat received in December 2012 to perform research and development work for the U.S. Navy’s new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

General Dynamics Electric Boat has established standards of excellence in the design, construction and lifecycle support of U.S. Navy submarines. In its position as an industry leader, Electric Boat remains committed to applying its technical strengths and business expertise to effectively manage the challenges of nuclear-submarine production. The company’s three primary locations are in Groton and New London, Connecticut; and Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Its current workforce is approximately 15,800 employees.

Navy Accepts Colorado

The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Colorado (SSN-788), the 15th submarine of the Virginia-class, September 21.

Navy Accepts Delivery of the Future USS Colorado (SSN-788)
Navy Accepts Delivery of the Future USS Colorado (SSN-788)

The submarine’s sponsor is Annie Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The ship began construction in 2012 and is scheduled to commission in spring 2018. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority.

«Colorado’s delivery brings another Block III Virginia-class submarine to the fleet within budget. The submarine’s outstanding quality continues the Program’s tradition of delivering combat ready submarines to the fleet», said Captain Mike Stevens, Virginia-class submarine program manager. «The Colorado is the most capable Virginia-class submarine bringing advanced capabilities and technology to the Navy fleet».

USS Colorado (SSN-788) is the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

The submarine will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron that fought in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher with then-Lt. George Dewey serving as her executive officer. In the early years of the 20th Century, the second Colorado (ACR-7) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser that escorted convoys of men and supplies to England during World War I. The third ship of her name, the lead ship of the Colorado class of battleships (BB-45), supported operations in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, surviving two kamikaze attacks and earning seven battle stars.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 2 × 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Navy Accepts Portland

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division delivered the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) to the U.S. Navy on September 18.

(Left to right) Captain J.R. Hill, Commander Jon Letourneau and Mike Pruitt sign the DD 250 document officially transferring custody of the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) from HII to the U.S. Navy. Hill is Portland’s prospective commanding officer; Letourneau is the Navy’s LPD 17-class program manager, and Pruitt is Ingalls’ LPD 27 program manager (Photo by Michael Duhe/HII)
(Left to right) Captain J.R. Hill, Commander Jon Letourneau and Mike Pruitt sign the DD 250 document officially transferring custody of the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) from HII to the U.S. Navy. Hill is Portland’s prospective commanding officer; Letourneau is the Navy’s LPD 17-class program manager, and Pruitt is Ingalls’ LPD 27 program manager (Photo by Michael Duhe/HII)

«Today is a great day for this collective industry and customer team», said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president, program management. «For many of the shipbuilders, Supervisor of Shipbuilding representatives and members of the U.S. Navy program office, this is the 11th ship they have built and delivered together. Their personal commitment to excellence has become the hallmark of the LPD program, and we are positioned to continue that tradition on future ships».

USS Portland (LPD-27) was delivered during an afternoon ceremony with shipbuilders, ship’s force and representatives of Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast together in attendance. The signing of the DD 250 document officially transfers custody of the ship from HII to the U.S. Navy.

«I am amazed with the shipbuilders here at Ingalls», said Captain J.R. Hill, Portland’s prospective commanding officer. «There are thousands of them who have been working to build this ship and put it into service, and they’ve really done a great job. I’m very impressed with the team Ingalls has put together as well as the 370 crew members present today who are ecstatic about taking control of this ship. We look forward to what she can do in the future».

USS Portland (LPD-27) is named for the largest city in the state of Oregon. The state has a long history with the U.S. Navy, going back to the construction of hundreds of World War II Liberty and Victory ships at three Portland-area shipyards.

Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio-class ships to the U.S. Navy and currently has one more, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), under construction. In June, Ingalls received an advance procurement contract from the Navy to provide long-lead-time material and advance construction activities for LPD-29, the 13th ship of the San Antonio class.

The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the U.S. Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.

USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries
Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower
Length 684 feet/208 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons (25,300 metric tons) full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 calibre/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two LCACs or one LCU; and 14 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles

 

San Antonio-class

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 10-08-2016 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls
LPD-29