- The USN has incorporated into its operational plan lessons learned from its maiden LCS deployment to the Asia-Pacific region
- These lessons will see the plan include the expansion of LCS operations in the region
The US Navy (USN) has incorporated lessons learned from the maiden operational deployment of its first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Freedom (LCS 1), to the Asia-Pacific region and will draw on this experience as it expands LCS operations in the region, the service told IHS Jane’s during a ship tour of USS Fort Worth on 17 February.
Freedom variant USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), the service’s second LCS dispatched to the region, is based at Changi Naval Base in Singapore on a 16-month deployment. The vessel is scheduled to take part in exercises with various regional navies during its tour.
In response to a question by IHS Jane’s on how these lessons have been incorporated in Forth Worth ‘s deployment, the commander of the USN’s Logistics Group Western Pacific and Combined Task Force 73, Rear Admiral Charles Williams, pointed to the vessel’s improved reliability while undertaking a lengthy transit and its response to international search-and-locate efforts.
“The reliability of the ship has already been improved,” said Adm Williams. “You saw that by [ Fort Worth ‘s] ability to sail from San Diego through Hawaii, Guam, Jakarta, and all the way here to Singapore without any maintenance availability,” he added. Fort Worth departed San Diego on 17 November 2014 and arrived in Singapore after a six-week journey.
“Within four days of arriving, [the ship] immediately got under way to support the Indonesia-led search efforts for the AirAsia flight,” said the admiral, referring to flight QZ5801, which crashed into the Java Sea on 28 December. Adm Williams said that a diving salvage unit from the USN’s base in Guam, bringing two side-scan sonars and a remotely operated vehicle, were embarked in Fort Worth and integrated with its equipment to support the operation.
Fort Worth ‘s commanding officer, Commander Matthew Kawas, agreed that the QZ8501 search demonstrated a capability concept that will be used in the expansion of LCS operations in the region. “Due to our ability to quickly re-configure [the ship], the diving salvage detachment were able to insert [their equipment] into what we already have and get under way only a few days later,” said Cdr Kawas. He added that an operation of that nature may not have been done as quickly on other platforms.