On August 7, the 27th US Littoral Combat Ship was launched, the USS Nantucket LCS 27 of the Freedom-class.
The USS Nantucket was built by the US defense industry corporation Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with Fincantieri Marinette Marine. It is one of two classes of the littoral combat ship program, built for the United States Navy. When completed she will be a resilient, flexible warship, affordably take on new capabilities including advanced sensors, missiles and cutting-edge cyber systems.
Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help sailors achieve their missions. The ship is a semiplaning steel monohull with an aluminum superstructure. It is 115m in length, displaces 3,400 long tons, and can achieve 47 kn. The design incorporates a large, reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated helicopter launch, recovery and handling system, and the capability to launch and recover boats from both the stern and side.
The core crew is 40 sailors, usually joined by a mission package crew and an aviation detachment for a total crew around 75. Automation allows a reduced crew, which greatly reduces operating costs, but workload can still be “gruelling”. Four 750-kilowatt Fincantieri Isotta Fraschini diesel generators provide 3 megawatts of electrical power to power the ship systems.
The fore deck has a modular weapons zone which can be used for a 57 mm gun turret or missile launcher. A Rolling Airframe Missile launcher is mounted above the hangar for short-range defense against aircraft and cruise missiles, and .50-caliber gun mounts are provided topside. The Fleet-class unmanned surface vessel is designed for operations from Freedom-variant ships.
The US Navy intends to have a fleet of more than 30 Freedom-class littoral combat ships in the future. In addition to the USS Nantucket, there are 5 warships being built at the shipyard of Fincantieri Marinette Marine Company. Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered 10 ships to the U.S. Navy.