LCS 1 Conducted Operational Missions in South China Sea

REFILE - CORRECTING SPELLING OF LOCATION WHERE PICTURE WAS TAKENThe future USS Freedom (LCS 1), the first ship in the U.S. Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class, undergoes builder's trials on Lake Michigan near Marinette, Wisconsin in this picture taken July 28, 2008. LCS is a focused-mission ship designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 378-foot future USS Freedom is being designed and built by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team. Picture taken July 28.   REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Lockheed-Martin/Handout   (UNITED STATES).  FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.The Navy’s USS Freedom conducted several operational patrol missions in the South China Sea while on a 32,000-mile, 10-month long maiden deployment through the Pacific region, service officials said.

As a first-in-class vessel, the USS Freedom or Littoral Combat Ship 1 is a research and development ship engineered to pave the way forward for what the Navy plans will be many high-speed, shallow water multi-mission vessels that will eventually comprise a large percentage of the Navy’s fleet.

The ship just completed its first deployment from San Diego to Guam, Singapore, the South China Sea and the Philippines – where it assisted with disaster relief missions.

During its deployment in the South China Sea, the USS Freedom conducted a handful of operational patrols for the Navy’s Commander of the 7th fleet, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, told reporters Jan. 6.

The missions included surface surveillance with radar and shipboard sensors and sending helicopters up to help create a maritime picture within the area, he added.  The rationale for these missions was to help provide commanders with a common operational picture of the area, Copeman explained.

The Navy hopes to build as many as 52 LCS ships, multi-mission littoral vessels configured with various “mission-package” technologies for countermine warfare, anti-submarine mission and surface warfare. LCS 1 is configured with the surface warfare mission package, a configuration of integrated technologies such as sensors, weapons and defensive systems designed to detect and destroy surface threats.

“The shallow draft of the ship allowed it to get into areas that other ships can’t get into, such as areas of the South China Sea, ports that were not available for a cruiser or a DDG (destroyer) which draws 32-feet of water. These ships are drawing less than half of that,” Copeman added.

While operational assignments are typical of ships on deployment, it is unique or unusual for a first-in-class research and development ship like LCS 1 to be given operational assignments, Navy officials said. Navy leaders said LCS 1’s deployment helped the Navy demonstrate the operational flexibility sought after for the LCS ship class, a group of ships that have been criticized by analysts and lawmakers for, among other things, being unable to complete its intended mission.


“It was envisioned many years ago and I think the Navy has made the right call to build these high-speed, low-cost, shallow-draft multi-mission ships,” Copeman said.

LCS 1 also experienced a handful of reliability and maintenance challenges during its deployment which led the Navy to implement a series of fixes and maintenance repairs.

In particular, the USS Freedom experienced problems with its ship service diesel generators, or SSDGs, which resulted in a temporary power outage during a trip to Guam, this past summer.  The Freedom also experienced problems with a corroded cable and faulty air compressor.

During its deployment, the USS Freedom experienced a corroding, or failing, of a cable on the ship, affecting the steerable jets.  The cable was fixed in Singapore within the last several months, a source said.

Unlike other ships, the LCS has a unique propulsion system, designed with four high-tech water jets able to control the angle, speed and direction of the ship, Navy officials said.  There are no propellers or rudders on the LCS—just steerable water jets, giving the platform an ability to reach speeds greater than 40 knots.


Navy engineers and program managers are optimistic that a series of adjustments or “fixes” will benefit the overall LCS fleet by improving reliability and sustainability.  For example, Navy engineers modified the configuration of the diesel generators planned for LCS 5 and follow-on ships, so as to decrease the likelihood of generator problems persisting on future models.

“Between LCS 1, which is a research and development ship, and LCS 5 there has been a redesign of the ship’s service diesel generators and there’s been a redesign of the main reduction gear core,” Copeman said.

Also, LCS 3 and follow-on ship have new air compressors, Copeman added.

The LCS fleet also relies on a technique known as condition-based maintenance, a method of using sensors to monitor and compile data about the health and functionality of the systems on the ship.  The advantages to this method are numerous, as it allows engineers to identify potential problems early in the process.

The earlier problems are discovered, the easier it is to maintain a high degree of functionality onboard and keep repair costs low, Navy officials said. Condition-based maintenance approaches are designed to recognize key trends for engineers and sustainment experts to analyze.

The Navy also works at prepositioning parts and specific maintenance kits for key systems and equipment onboard the ship called preventive maintenance systems. This method is designed to maintain small and large equipment on the ship and ensure that they keep functioning properly.

The LCS platform has been the subject of criticism and controversy from lawmakers, officials and analysts, due to questions about these types of maintenance problems, survivability questions and mission effectiveness.  Nevertheless, senior leaders, program managers, engineers and sailors have expressed enthusiasm for the ship’s performance in deployments and tests and the new kinds of multi-mission capabilities it will provide.

Overall, Navy leaders say the experiences of the LCS’ maiden deployment will pave the way for the ship’s future.

“It showed to the U.S. states Navy and to our allies that this ship is very capable, viable platform. It has a pretty bright future,” Copeman said.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • Dfens

    Apparently the fact that the LCS-1 cost more than an Iowa Class Battleship to both design and build isn’t part of the discussion. Of course, we don’t build battleships anymore because they are too expensive. So when we needed a show of force in the China sea, we used an LCS instead of the Mighty Mo’. I think it sent the right message. After all, we are wimps, although the Missouri is a lot closer in age to the B-52’s that did the flyby. Let’s never go back to having the US Navy design their own ships like they did when the Iowa Class Battleship was designed and built. Obviously we are much better off now — because our defense contractors make record profits year after year, and we get ships like the LCS instead of the Mighty Mo’ and they cost more. Isn’t this the best of all possible worlds?

    • You are willfully ignorant of the 80 years of inflation since the Ohio class BB where designed and constructed!

    • Mark

      One of the reasons we don’t use battleships anymore is the cost to man and operate them. An Iowa-class BB requires enough crew and officers to operate several Aegis-class cruisers, and they all need to be paid. The Navy doesn’t have that kind of money to kick around anymore. On the other hand, an LCS – relatively speaking – requires a very small number of men and women to operate. Apples to oranges anyway. BBs, CGs, DDGs, and even FFGs can’t do what an LCS is intended to do.

      • blight_

        Later models of Burke deploy minesweeping drones, and those will be ported to operate with the MCM LCS module. The LCS is just a drone control ship.

        • Dfens

          Don’t you love that spin? So really Lockheed, by making the LCS costs more than a battleship was actually saving us money because their little crappy ship doesn’t need all those contemptible sailors crawling all over it.

      • tiger

        The LCS costs too much & does very little.

    • STemplar

      I have no love for the LCS but just applying an inflation calculator to the Iowa class isn’t really accurate. There is no way we would be able to build a 50,000 ton modern ship of the line for $1.6 billion even if everything went swell. I understand the calculator may spit out an accurate number, but that calculator you used alone has more processing power and memory capacity than was installed on an Iowa Class when built.

      Having said all that the LCS is an example of the over hype, over promises, of ‘modularity’.

      • Dfens

        See, this is how the defense contractors win. Your expectations have been so modified by current day weapons costs that you can’t even comprehend how f’ed up the whole system of weapons procurement is. Even if you don’t believe the index of inflation, and after all, who can believe anything the government tells us anymore, is steel cheaper or more expensive than it was in 1940 relative to other commodities we buy? Hell, steel is so cheap now that our domestic steel industry has shut its doors. Steel is competitive with wood as a building material now. Steel is as cheap as it ever has been, right now.

        And you want to talk about computers? The targeting computers on the Iowa Class Battleships were the state of the art in analog computing in 1940. They were the Cray computers of their day. Those targeting systems were so good that when Regan had the Mighty Mo’ recommissioned in 1984 they didn’t touch the targeting computers because they couldn’t significantly improve them over 40 years later in an era of modern digital computers.

        Capitalism works. We see it everyday. We buy better products for less money everyday in the free market, and yet the expectation for the price of weapons is that they constantly get more expensive and provide less “bang for the buck”? We can’t have an SR-71 anymore because it is too expensive. We can’t have battleships anymore because they’re too expensive. We can’t have Mach 3 bombers because they are too expensive. Do you never stop to think about how ridiculous that is? We should be getting better weapons for less now, not worse weapons for more.

        • guest

          It doesn’t matter whether Capitalism works or not, because what is being practiced in the US is not Capitalism. Defense procurement nightmares have been quite similar to the bailouts of corrupt and fraudulent Wall Street banks in 2008-09. Call it reverse Communism, where the poor subsidize and/or bail out the rich, but never vice versa. (In Real Communism, the rich subsize the poor. But thanks to pervasive propaganda and prolonged indoctrination, most Americans harbor a forced-fed hatred of Communism without actually knowing what it really is. Worse, they don’t know what constitutes real Capitalism either.)

          • Dfens

            When I think of free market capitalism the first thing that always pops to mind is computer hardware and software. It’s remarkable how much cheaper and better computers are now than they used to be. It’s also ironic that computers and their software are so often used to justify the explosion of cost in military weapons as if that’s just the natural order of things. How stupid do people have to be to see better products for less money in the commercial computer market place and then turn around and at the same time believe the propaganda about how computers make weapons cost more? It’s really remarkable that people can accept such dichotomies without question.

        • Mastro

          The SR-71’s operating costs were too expensive- that was OK during the Cold War- but to spy on Serbs- a bit too much.

          Steel is cheap because of minimills- that’s right- but that’s not armor plate- no one makes armor plate like the US and UK navies did- they had their own mills. To make new ones would cost a fortune.

          You just can’t ramp up the inflation numbers- there was an entire industry for battleships that doesn’t exist today. They also had millions of poor kids from Nebraska to serve on those ships. Now you have to have college funds, VA benefits etc- a 1000 person crew is nuts.

          No- I don’t like the LCS- it will throw spitballs at the enemy- but building battleships is over- heck- it was over in 1943!

          • Dfens

            Yeah, it used to be everyone had a battleship in their backyard. Now it’s strictly a specialty market.

  • Big-Dean

    Here’s some translations from Navy-speak to common sense speak:

    “The missions included surface surveillance with radar” = So how much did we pay to get a simple radar picture?

    “LCS 1 also experienced a handful of reliability and maintenance challenges during its deployment” = No kidding Shirlock, tell us something new.

    “it is unique or unusual for a first-in-class research and development ship like LCS 1 to be given operational assignments,” = Oh really, so how long does this period last-20 years?

    “The LCS fleet also relies on a technique known as condition-based maintenance, a method of using sensors to monitor and compile data about the health and functionality of the systems on the ship” = Brilliant! We used to do what is called preventative maintenance, we simple didn’t wait for something to break and then limp into port and have civilians fix it.

    “Navy leaders say the experiences of the LCS’ maiden deployment will pave the way for the ship’s future.” = If this is the Navy’s future we’re all s c r e w e d.

    “Nevertheless, senior leaders, program managers, engineers and sailors have expressed enthusiasm for the ship’s performance in deployments and tests and the new kinds of multi-mission capabilities it will provide.” = They are extremely happy it didn’t sink

    • Eisenman

      Your Statement “Navy leaders say the experiences of the LCS’ maiden deployment will pave the way for the ship’s future.” = If this is the Navy’s future we’re all s c r e w e d. ” Is very well noted, i remember a class of vessel that was actually renamed because of what happen to it.

      When the USS Threasher went down, The Treasher Class was brand new to the Navy and after it went down. The US Navy created what is now known as the SUBSAFE Program. Maiden Voyages aren’t always bad. atleast this one didn’t cost 125+ mens live to create the change.


    • Dave

      “The missions included surface surveillance with radar” = So how much did we pay to get a simple radar picture?

      When I was an OS on an oiler, WE did surface surveillance with radar. Pretty much SOP for ships underway within 100 miles of land.

      Read more:

  • PolicyWonk

    The LCS platform has been the subject of criticism and controversy from lawmakers, officials and analysts, due to questions about these types of maintenance problems, survivability questions and mission effectiveness.
    Even the navy’s own internal investigation concluded that the LCS is unlikely to be able to perform the tasks it was intended for, or for that matter survive in a hostile environment.

    Hence – one characteristic of the LCS that it shares with the F-35 is that it too, has had its mission profile reduced, because it could not meet even its most basic performance requirements.

    Now the navy is trying to create new propaganda (read: bovine fecal matter) so they can pull the old “bait and switch” on the taxpayers. But all anyone needs to do is look at the original requirements and mission profile (which attracted interest from foreign buyers), and contrast those with the heavily reduced requirements (and the tremendously inflated cost per sea frame), which since caused every potential foreign LCS customer to do the smart thing, and walk away.

    Other navies have been able to build full military hulls, with stealthy designs, far more armament and protection, *and* mission packages, for 1/3 LESS than what the US navy is spending on LCS.

    The only victory LCS is bringing to this nation is to the boardrooms of the companies that are manufacturing these floating corporate welfare programs.

  • Taylor

    Maybe the speed will make up for the lack of a thicker hull to some extent. A moving target with countermeasures versus a heavily armored sitting duck?

    • Big-Dean

      Speed in lieu of capability makes no sense at all Taylor. After all, there is no ship on this planet than can outrun a missile, shell or even a bullet. Countermeasures? what countermeasures? The only way the LCS will know it’s being targeted is the moment it blows up.

      FYI, our carriers are our only current ships that can be said to be “armored” but that armoring is only in the major bulkheads and decks.

      But with that said, this thin skinned aluminum “ship?” would be very susceptible to any minor gun or caliber, i.e. it would take very little to put this ship out of action and or sink it

      • Gyoz

        Aluminum? Falklands war made all the limits of this material evident and UK went back to steel construction.

        • Jeff
        • ArmchairGeneral

          You didn’t even even read the Wikipedia article:

          “The sinking of Sheffield is sometimes blamed on a superstructure made wholly or partially from aluminium, the melting point and ignition temperature of which are significantly lower than those of steel. However, this is incorrect as Sheffield’s superstructure was made entirely of steel.”

          • Gyoz

            My fault the affected class was another one:

          • mdixonga

            Don’t forget the cruiser, Belknap. Aluminum superstructure burnt down to the gunnel after colision with carrier.

          • Gyoz

            Scary pic of the result of the fire:

            Also interesting from the Arleigh Burke Class wikipedia page:

            “The Arleigh Burke’s designers incorporated lessons learned from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers; with the Arleigh Burke class, the U.S. Navy also returned to all-steel construction. An earlier generation had combined a steel hull with an innovative superstructure made of lighter aluminum to reduce topweight, but the lighter metal proved vulnerable to cracking. Aluminum is also less fire-resistant than steel.[13] A 1975 fire aboard USS Belknap gutted her aluminum superstructure.[14] Battle damage to Royal Navy ships exacerbated by their aluminum superstructures during the 1982 Falklands War supported the decision to use steel. Another lesson from the Falklands War[12] led the navy to protect the ship’s vital spaces with double-spaced steel armour (creating a buffer for modern rockets), and kevlar spall liners.”

            So basically with LCS they are betting to be so stealthy and fast not to take any round. Again the Falkland/Malvinas war showed that missiles can be fired from land undetected at great effect.

          • tiger
        • tiger

          Old wise tale

      • Dfens

        Speed could be useful if we went with technologies that lent themselves to true high speed ships. Things like cavitating hydrofoils and ground effect lift could put our ships’ top speeds into the low hundreds of miles per hour instead of 35 knots. Not surprisingly, the defense contractors that design these ships go for technologies that return maximum cost instead of maximum performance. So now the Navy’s great plan is to put a boat that can be sunk by small arms fire within range of small arms. But really that brilliant idea is just the fall out from the real intent which is to maximize the profits of the defense contractors who designed and built our crappy navy. I’m sure the officers in charge would be embarrassed if they had sufficient honor to know they should be.

        • tiger
  • Big-Dean

    The word has gotten out to the LCS mafia to come here and give thumbs down to everyone who speaks the truth about the LCS (let’s see how many thumbs down I get for this).

    • Dfens

      They do that instead of name calling and generally looking stupid like they used to when they actually wrote responses. Apparently just because a defense contractor can afford to spend $25 million/year for a CEO doesn’t mean they can buy an internet mouth that can make a coherent argument for why we should continue to take it up the ass from these corporations. Though, granted, it is a tough sell that’s getting tougher by the day.

    • blight_

      “Would you like to make a dollar per thumbs down? Go to this website and thumbs down all the negative comments”

  • oblatt2

    Nothing better shows off America’s decline to Asian nations than a LCS limping into your harbor.

    The Taiwanese for instance are cutting their defense budget from 3% to 2%, dropping conscription. They don’t see any realistic chance of ever repelling a Chinese invasion. They know that if China invades Taiwan we will be there side by side with a long list of excuses.

    • Dfens

      Sure we could buy better, but we just can’t pay more. Sure that LCS may look like a big vagina, but it cost more than the Mighty Mo’ so it must be good.

      • PolicyWonk

        We can both buy better AND pay less, buy purchasing another design from one of our allied western nations. They have been building ships of the same size as LCS, with mission packages, etc., and far more armament and protection for a lot less (there are a few that cost 1/3 less than what the USA is forking out for LCS)

        Hence, we could get 78 similar ships (instead of 52), with full military hulls, etc, for the same money we’re looking to spend on 52 lousy LCS. Even with the ships that have been built already, we could give them ALL to the USCG, and still get 52 hulls, and *still* save money.

        • Dfens

          We wouldn’t have to turn to foreign built ships if we’d fix what is wrong with our own procurement system. As usual, we pay defense contractors more to drag out the design and jack up the cost of the vehicle and then we wonder why we end up paying so much. That said, your numbers clearly show that our system is failing and that almost any other system is better than the one we use.

        • tiger

          What would the Coasties do with it?

          • Nicky

            Scrap the LCS and sell it to any country that wants a gas guzzler and Lemon of a ship

    • Guest

      oblatt2, perhaps it’s America’s way of trying to persuade China to halt its blue water navy building program. It’s like saying “Look China, here’s one of our latest, most expensive and advanced naval vessels. It’s runs like a piece of cheap toy made in China. Eight power outages on one trip, among other technical problems. You’ve got nothing to worry about. Please cut the annual building rate of 25+ destroyers, frigates, landing vessels. Slow your carrier building program down. Same for conventional and nuclear submarines.”

    • Juuso

      If Taiwanese aren’t interested defending their country why should anyone else be?

      • iff

        What are you talking about? Taiwan has stepped up its patrols of its islands in the South China Sea after one of its fisherman was gunned down by thugs in the Philippines marine-time force.

        • blight_

          The only “defense” worth anything to Taiwan would be nuclear deterrence on a missile that could hit Beijing in minutes. And it would have to be an ROC-controlled missile, not an American one with American permissive-action-links.

          • Guest

            You will see a war between China and the US before you see a war between Beijing and Taipei.

            You need to understand that Taiwanese government has always claimed to be the real government of China. Its map includes the mainland, Taiwan, Mongolia, and areas is currently under Russian control.

  • Robert

    Big-Dean Great remarks.

  • better off in the hands of the coasties

  • Big-B

    i agree give the lcs that are already built to the coast guard or use it as remote controlled decoys controlled by a Arleigh Burke or Zumwalt and stop building more lcs. when our german navy introduced the new corvettes (Braunschweig class) i thought “not bad but could be better” but compared to an lcs our Braunschweigs are Mini-Zumwalts ;-)
    Maybe the united nations could use the lcs as peacekeepers because no one will feel threatened by them. or get rid of the few weapons, paint it white and sell to some saudi prince as a dinghy

  • A Perry class frigate class frigate could have done the same, without breaking down!


      Hey John, Stop and take a look at the Fig 7 Class, air compressors of the flight 1 units. Those compressors are bearings faster than Ingersoll could supply them. Oh crap too, those bearings were OEM controlled rights. Smart. The redesign and added cooling system was years too late. NavSea failed us on that loop. I was MPA/Cheng FFG-7 with hands on during that crap. Their main deck super structure was another fiasco, CRACKS galore. MASTERMECH48 sends

  • blight_

    We should buy some Ambassador V FAC’s to protect the LCS in its vital mission.

  • STemplar

    Well, it floated, I guess that equals an operation….

    • Guest

      and if it sunk, it would be two operations.

    • Big-Dean

      but, but have soon we forget the awesome contribution the might LCS performed-it painted a radar picture with it cheap little commercial fishing boat radar-that’s quite and accomplishment! BRAVO ZULU LCS! Everyone on board gets a promotion and a bronze star with combat V ;-P

  • Lance

    This is just after a DoD analysis saying LCS is not very survivable in combat situations and yet like every pet project teh Navy hugs and clamors to its inferior new ship.

  • scportdor

    does anyone remember general “buck” turgidson in dr. strange love? “gee, I wish we had one of those domesday devices.” what we have is a lot of star packing people that have wish lists but, not a lot of common sense. I saw a lack of common sense over 22 years, and can only conclude it still persists. what’s needed is a panel of to oversee and get rid of the garbage before it goes from drawing board to reality. however, that’s a big bunch of money floating around, and it would not be the first time.

  • Dan1971

    Thanks for posting yet another piece of pro-LCS fluff … how the Navy Brass has any credibility is a total shock to me. Honestly, someone needs to lose their stars and pension and end up in jail.


    I once thought NASA wasted their money in not buying the hardware to make the USS Enterprise space shuttle operational; but being that it was a research and development vehicle engineered to pave the way forward for the fleet, one has to wonder whether what problems might have occurred if NASA had sent the Enterprise up.

    • blight_

      Wouldn’t have made a significant difference in costs. Every shuttle that goes up has to be thoroughly reconditioned before re-use, at the point where the cost gets close to that of sending up another rocket.

      At some point smaller Saturns would’ve been price-competitive with the shuttle. Obviously a shuttle is always cheaper than Saturn V, which was used to send the CEM/LEM to the moon and put up Skylab. ISS was bigger and required multiple milk runs by the space shuttle.

      • Dfens

        From what I understand, and these were comments by the director or NASA, the shuttle cost $1 billion to refurbish and a Saturn V cost less that that in same year dollars. In retrospect it was really stupid to make the orbiter the reusable part of the vehicle. The first stage is the part you really want to be reusable. The part that goes to orbit should be expendable.

        • blight_

          The boosters were reusable, but I always wondered how much reconditioning went into the boosters after they dropped from high altitude into the water. I imagined that was why the fuel tank was single-use.

  • LPF

    Why not just make a shallow draft frigate?

  • retin88

    Didn’t we have one in the Perry Class?

  • engineersedge

    As a former EM3c serving aboard an LCSL during WW2, the biggest problem the New LCS has is the amount of Electrical Power needed for propulsion and other devices. The Generators are the very heart of the ship. Nothing else will work without them!!! They need fuel of some kind .Also they have to be shut down for maintenance. Sounds like the new LCS 1 driving electric motors for propulsion is not very practical .

    • V smith

      LCS 1 uses Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbine engines for propulsion – not electric drive.

  • I have a really hard time with the concept ships built today. We seem to design for the perceived threat? Well do you think the enemy, whom ever that will be, will stick to your battle plan? It seems the strategy pigeon holes the Navy into a fight they will be ill equipped to for. Drone programs are getting cut. The world war ships proved trading armor for speed and maneuverability isn’t such a great idea. The range, speeds and payloads of munitions have dramatically increased, Electronic systems fail with combat damage and the only hope for survival is the crews response. This all seems bass-ackwards to me!

  • Dabei ist es egal, ob es sich dabei um einen Bewohner der Region handelt,

    der sich die letzten Nachrichten mal kurz am Arbeitsplatz in der Mittagspause ansehen möchte, der Urlauber

    oder Kurgast, der wissen möchte, was am Ort für Veranstaltungen sind,

    oder der Kunde, der erfahren möchte, welche Einkaufsmöglichkeiten sich in der Gegend befinden.