MAYPORT, Fla. - The Navy's newest Littoral Combat Ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), sailed away from Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Sep. 13, beginning the final leg of its maiden voyage to its commissioning site in Galveston, Texas.
Fort Worth is the third LCS delivered to the Navy - the second of the steel, semi-planing monohull Freedom variant - and will be commissioned Sept. 22.
During a two-week stay in Mayport, the ship underwent a scheduled preventive maintenance availability and conducted initial Combat Support Systems Onboard Testing and TRS-3D RADAR Electronic Target Generator Testing in support of the Combat System Ship Qualification Test that will take place later this year after the ship arrives in its homeport of San Diego, Calif.
The ship departed the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., Aug. 6, sailing through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, before eventually making her way down the East Coast of the United States.
The trip through the Seaway was particularly complex, as the ship transited 11 narrow locks that were, in many cases, only a few feet wider than the ship itself - a feat few Navy vessels ever get the opportunity to experience.
"Fort Worth completed a challenging transit, and I'm impressed with how well she handled," said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, Program Executive Officer for Littoral Combat Ships. "Both the ship and crew performed superbly."
LCS 3 has incorporated a number of design changes based on lessons learned from the first ship of class, USS Freedom (LCS 1). These changes are now part of the baseline design and will be incorporated into future ships of the class prior to construction.
LCS is a high-speed, agile, shallow-draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed for operation in near-shore environments yet fully capable of open-ocean operation. Fort Worth is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 387-foot Fort Worth will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed quickly, and focus on three mission areas: mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
In addition to the three focused warfare missions it will conduct, the Littoral Combat Ship's inherent capabilities and suitability to conduct lower-end missions will free up our more expensive, multi-mission cruisers and destroyers to conduct higher-end missions.
The Lockheed Martin team now has Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9), and Sioux City (LCS 11) under construction in Marinette. Austal USA is constructing Independence-variant ships Coronado (LCS 4), Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and Omaha (LCS 12) at the company's shipyard in Mobile, Ala.