USS Freedom (LCS -1 ) 
Despite challenges, USS Freedom “solid” for deployment 
The Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted a Special Trial for USS Freedom (LCS 1) 22-24 May.

“INSURV found Freedom fit for service and on an appropriate readiness glide slope,” said Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, Naval Surface Forces. “There are clearly identified issues to work on in the Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) this July, many of which were known, some which were new as is expected in a Special Trial. Freedom is solid, all of the issues are fixable, and none of the issues would prevent her from deployment this spring.”

During the Special Trial, the ship and crews were rigorously evaluated. Main propulsion and the electrical plant were fully exercised for hours. The ship’s combat systems were stressed to verify full tactical capability. Communication systems were demonstrated at long range, and deck equipment used to the maximum extent. During the second day in port, inspectors conducted a space-by-space survey, verifying Navy technical standards were fully met, and noting discrepancies for correction if they were not. The ship’s documentation and safety programs were also fully evaluated to ensure both the crew and ship’s equipment are kept safe.

“The deficiencies will be corrected and Freedom will stay on the path to deployment,” said Hunt.

Hunt noted that areas to be worked on were not a surprise to the Board.

“Ahead of the Special Trial, we put Freedom through a rigorous inspection known as a Type Commander (TYCOM) Material Readiness Inspection (TMI),” Hunt said. “In practice, TMI strives for even greater rigor than INSURV. This is in order to provide the TYCOM with a maximum level of confidence in a ship’s readiness for Material Inspection, and in turn provides the ship’s leadership with focus as they finalize their preparations for INSURV.”

This was the first TMI conducted on an LCS. As the TYCOM, Naval Surface Forces also helped ensure the ship received all the maintenance and parts support it needed to fix many TMI-noted discrepancies prior to the Special Trial.

Freedom is a first-of-class ship with a dramatically different design from previous surface combatants, a new manning concept, and new maintenance concept intended to improve the overall life cycle cost to the Navy.

“This is not unique to the LCS platform,” Hunt said. “Deficiencies are historically common for a first-of-class ship and it is expected the Navy will discover and correct them as they are identified. Those findings are then folded back into the other ships in the class.”

USS Freedom will continue on with Surface Warfare Mission Module test and evaluation through June, entering into her final Post Shakedown Availability in Naval Base San Diego. Find out more about USS Freedom at the ship's official website, http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lcs1, or on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/#!/USSFreedom.

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