USS Independence (LCS-2)

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USS Independence
Career (US)
Name: USS Independence
Awarded: 14 October 2005[1]
Builder: Austal USA[1]
Laid down: 19 January 2006[1]
Launched: 26 April 2008[1]
Christened: 4 October 2008
Commissioned: 16 January 2010[2]
Homeport: San Diego[1]
Status: in active service, as of 2010
General characteristics
Class and type: Independence-class littoral combat ship
Displacement: 2,176 tons light, 2,784 tons full, 608 tons deadweight[1]
Length: 127.4 m (418 ft)[1]
Beam: 31.6 m (104 ft)[1]
Draft: 13 ft (3.96 m)[1]
Propulsion:MTU Friedrichshafen 20V 8000 Series diesel engines, 2x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines[3], 4x Wärtsilä waterjets[4], retractable bow-mounted azimuth thruster, 4× diesel generators
Speed: 44 knots (51 mph; 81 km/h)[5]
Range: 4,300 nm at 18 knots[6]
Capacity: 210 metric tons (206 long tons, 231 short tons)
Complement: 40 core crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted) plus up to 35 mission crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
  • ITT Corporation ES-3601 ESM system[7]
  • SRBOC decoy launchers for chaff and infrared decoys[7]
  • BAE Systems NULKA active radar decoy system[7]
  • Armament:
  • 1x BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun[8]
  • 4× .50-cal guns (2 aft, 2 forward)
  • 1x Raytheon SeaRAM CIWS[7]
  • Other weapons as part of mission modules
  • Aircraft carried:
  • MH-60R/S Seahawk
  • MQ-8 Fire Scout
  • File:USS Independence (LCS-2).jpg
    Rear view of the USS Independence (LCS-2) at the Austal USA shipyards along the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama, showing Evolved SeaRAM on hanger roof.
    File:USS Independence LCS-2.jpg
    Side view of the USS Independence (LCS-2)

    USS Independence (LCS-2), the class prototype for the Independence-class littoral combat ship, will be the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the concept of independence. It is the design produced by the General Dynamics consortium for the Navy's littoral combat ship program, and competes with the Lockheed Martin-designed USS Freedom.

    It is intended as a small assault transport that can take on various capabilities with the installation of mission modules. The ship is a trimaran design that can make more than 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph), and was delivered to the Navy at the end of 2009.


    Template:Advertisment The design for Independence (LCS 2) is based on a high-speed trimaran (Benchijigua Express) hull built by Austal (Henderson, Australia). The 418-foot (127-meter) surface combatant design requires a crew of 40 sailors, while the trimaran hull increases the total surface area, but is still able to reach sustainable speeds of about 50 knots (60 mph; 90 km/h) and a range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km).[citation needed]

    With 11,000 cubic meters of payload volume, it was designed with enough payload and volume to carry out one mission while a separate mission module is in reserve, allowing the ship do multiple missions without having to be refitted. The large flight deck, 1,030 m2 (11,100 sq ft), can support the operation of two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, multiple UAVs, or one large CH-53 Sea Stallion-class helicopter (which is larger than a V-22 transport). The stable trimaran hull will allow flight operations up to sea state 5.[9]

    The Independence carries a default armament for self-defense, and command and control. However unlike traditional fighting ships with fixed armament such as guns and missiles, innovative and tailored mission modules will be configured for one mission package at a time. Modules may consist of manned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, off-board sensors, or mission-manning detachments.

    The large interior volume and payload is greater than larger destroyers and is sufficient to serve as a high-speed transport and maneuver platform. The mission bay is 15,200 square feet (1,410 m2), and takes up most of the deck below the hangar and flight deck.

    In addition to cargo or container-sized mission modules, the bay can carry four lanes of multiple Strykers, armored Humvees, and their associated troops. An elevator allows air transport of packages the size of a twenty-foot long shipping container that can be moved into the mission bay while at sea. A side access ramp allows for vehicle roll-on/roll-off loading to a dock and allows the ship to even transport the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.[10]

    The habitability area is under the bridge with bunks for many personnel. The helm is controlled by joysticks instead of traditional steering wheels.[11]

    The Independence also has an integrated LOS Mast, Sea Giraffe 3D Radar and SeaStar Safire FLIR. Side and forward surfaces are angled for reduced radar profile. In addition, H-60 series helicopters provide airlift, rescue, anti-submarine, radar picket and anti-ship capabilities with torpedoes and missiles.

    The Raytheon Evolved SeaRAM missile defense system is installed on the hangar roof. The SeaRAM combines the sensors of the Phalanx 1B close-in weapon system with an 11-missile launcher for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), creating an autonomous system.[12]

    Northrop Grumman has demonstrated sensor fusion of on and off-board systems in the Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) used on Independence.[13]

    Independence has a Interior Communications Center that can be curtained off from the rest of bridge instead of the heavily protected Combat Information Center found on Navy warships.[14]

    Austal contends that the Independence will use a third less fuel than Freedom, but the Congressional Budget Office found that fuel would account for 18 percent or less of the total lifetime cost of Freedom. While it was unable to judge the fuel usage of Independence, the higher purchase price of Independence would dominate its lifetime costs.[15]


    The contract was awarded to General Dynamics in July 2003.[16] The contract to build her was then awarded to Austal USA of Mobile, Alabama, on 14 October 2005 and her keel was laid down on 19 January 2006. Delivery to the United States Navy was scheduled for December 2008.

    The originally planned second General Dynamics ship (LCS-4) was canceled on November 1, 2007.[17] On May 1, 2009, a second vessel was reordered by the Navy, the Coronado (LCS-4). The keel was laid on December 17, 2009,[18] with delivery scheduled for May 2012.[19]

    The Navy currently plans a new bidding process with the FY2010 budget between Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics for the next three littoral combat ships, with the winner building two ships and the loser only one.[20] USS Independence was christened October 5, 2008 by Doreen Scott, wife of 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott.[21]

    Austal has proposed a much smaller and slower trimaran, called the Multi-Role Vessel or Multi-Role Corvette. Though it is only half the size of their LCS design, it would still be useful for border protection and counter piracy operations.[22] Navy leaders said that the fixed price competition offered the Austal design an equal shot, in spite of its excess size and cost and limited service.[23]

    The development and construction of Independence as of June 2009 was running at 100% over-budget. The total projected cost for the ship is $704 million. The Navy had originally projected the cost at $220 million.[24] Independence began builder's trials near Mobile, Alabama on July 2, 2009, three-days behind schedule because of maintenance issues.[25]

    In response to problems with the propulsion plant, the ship experienced a leak in the port gas turbine shaft seal, General Dynamics resequenced the builder's trials to test other systems until this was fixed.[26] The ship completed builder's trials on October 21, 2009[27] and acceptance trials on November 19, 2009.[28]

    On December 9, 2009 the Navy announced that the ship had completed its first INSURV inspection. The inspection found 2,080 discrepancies, including 39 high-priority deficiencies, but concluded that all could be resolved before the Navy accepts the ship as scheduled. The ship was delivered to the Navy on December 17, 2009. On December 18, the navy officially accepted custody of the ship.[18]

    The ship was commissioned on January 16, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama[29] and completed her maiden voyage in April 2010[30].

    See also


    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Independence". Naval Vessel Register. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
    2. Andrea Shalal-Esa (16 January 2009). "US Navy commissions newest warship, others coming". Reuters. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
    3. GE Aviation (2009-10-27). "GE and U.S. Navy Celebrate 40th Operating Anniversary of LM2500 Gas Turbine". Press release. 
    4. USS Independence LCS-2 - GE LM2500 Gas Turbines
    5. Navy's newest warships top out at more than 50 mph
    6. In high-stakes LCS competition, disagreement on how to rank the best deal
    7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 "Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) High-Speed Surface Ship". Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
    8. GDLCS Media Center
    9. USS Independence LCS 2 - General Info
    10. General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship brochure
    11. Cavas, Christopher P., "LCS 2 features large hangar, bigger berths", Military Times, January 11, 2010.
    12. "Raytheon Delivers SeaRAM to USS Independence". 
    13. Northrop Grumman-Led Team Demonstrates Means to Effectively Enhance Littoral Warfighting Capabilities
    14. LCS 2: ‘It’ll blow your mind’
    15. Navy not using fuel cost data in LCS competition
    16. "General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Team Wins Preliminary Design Award for U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship". General Dynamics press release, 17 July 2003.
    17. "U.S.Navy Press Release No. 1269-07". Press release. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
    18. 18.0 18.1 General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship Team Delivers Independence (LCS 2) and Lays Keel for Coronado (LCS 4)
    19. "Navy orders second LCS from Austal". 
    20. Washington Post (2008-04-03). "Navy Restarting Contest for Halted Shipbuilding Program". Press release. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
    21. Wilkinson, Kaija, "Independence's Day: Austal Warship Christened", Mobile Press-Register, October 5, 2008.
    22. "Multi-Role Vessel". Austal date=2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
    23. Navy says the field is level for teams competing for LCS contract
    24. Ewing, Philip, "LCS 2 delays trials after engine issue", Military Times, June 29, 2009.
    25. Ewing, Philip, "LCS 2 begins sea trials after 3-day delay", Military Times, July 3, 2009.
    26. Turbine-seal leak means more tests for LCS 2
    27. Ewing, Phillip, "After delays, LCS 2 completes builder trials", Military Times, October 21, 2009.
    28. Cava, Christopher P., "Trials successful for 2nd LCS hull", Military Times, November 21, 2009.
    29. Navy News Service, "[1]",, January 16, 2010.
    30. News 19th April 2010 "USS Independence Completes Maiden Voyage"

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