USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducted a joint “proof of concept” operation Oct. 2 with the 1st Marine Special Operations (MARSOC) Battalion from Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The intent of the operation was to determine the feasibility of launching and recovering combat rubber raiding craft (CRRCs), often used by MARSOC and other Special Forces units. Fort Worth, the second ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, has the ability to launch and recover much larger rubber hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) from its aft-facing tail gate. With a few minor adjustments, CRRCs are compatible as well. Although more research is needed to examine how different sea states and ship configurations will affect CRRC operations, this was still considered a significant first step.
“The successful completion of today’s evolutions has proven yet another capability for LCS,” said Cmdr. Hank Kim, commanding officer of Fort Worth’s gold crew. “We look forward to continued mutual training opportunities with our Marine Corps counterparts.”
The LCS class, which includes a Freedom and Independence variant, features a very shallow draft allowing LCS to get closer to shore, a major advantage when operating in the littorals. This advantage could allow the Navy and Marine Corps to reduce CRRC transit times from ship to shore while also allowing the CRRCs to remain within the protected umbrella of LCS fire support.