WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially announced Aug. 7 that six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will be homeported at Naval Station (NS) Mayport, Florida beginning in 2016.
The decision to homeport the ships in Mayport follows previous discussions to expand training and infrastructure to support the continued development of the program.
"LCS was designed for naval operations today and tomorrow, and will be a key component of our fleet for a long time to come," Mabus said. "The assignment of these six ships underscores just how important the First Coast is to our national defense, and how committed we are to the strategic dispersal of our Fleet. Mayport will soon be a hub for small surface combat ships, and will continue to serve as an important Navy partner."
Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare. The LCS Class consists of two variants, the monohull design Freedom variant and the trimaran design Independence variant. The ships are designed and built by two industry teams, led by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA, respectively. They operate with a core crew of 50, a composite aviation detachment of 23, and a mission module crew of 15 to 20 depending on the assignment.
Due to Mayport's existing pier structure and layout, six Freedom-variant ships were chosen to be based at Mayport. The ships are the future Little Rock (LCS 9), Sioux City (LCS 11), Wichita (LCS 13), Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17) and LCS 19 (name pending).
The homeporting will eventually bring an estimated 900 Sailors and support personnel to the Mayport area. The 900 personnel will be part of the LCS Squadron (LCSRON), LCS crews, mission module detachments, Afloat Training Group Mayport, Center for Surface Combat Systems detachment Mayport, Damage Control School and the Southeast Regional Maintenance Center.
NS Mayport has a long history as a strategic hub for the Navy. On Dec. 27, 1938 a congressionally appointed board recommended establishing a major base at Mayport as the location offered a prime setting for two carrier groups with room to expand aircraft facilities and complete plane and engine overhaul facilities. NS Mayport, today, covers 3,409 acres, is now the third largest naval facility in the continental United States and remains dedicated to providing "The Finest Service to the Finest Fleet."