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Littoral Combat Ship

USS Independence

Between 2006 and 2010 work was started on a new type of vessel for the US Navy.  With the commissioning of the USS Freedom in 2008 and the USS Independence in 2010, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) reached operational status.  Every facet of the ships and the project was unique and innovative, from the design, to mission, to contracting structure.  During the design and competition phase, two competing groups, headed by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamic produced significantly divergent concepts to fill the Navy's requirement for in-shore combat and deployment capability.  In the eyes of the fleet, both designs proofed worth of purchase, and arriving at a creative solution, Congress awarded contracts to both groups - resulting in an award to produce six vessels at Marinette Marine in Wisconsin and a further six of the Independence-class to be completed by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.

 

For much of the 20th Century, the US Navy was focused on large-scale, force projection vessels, such as the pre-World War II Battleships, and the super-carriers in service throughout the Cold War and beyond.  Following the events of September 11th, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, the surge in piracy around the horn of Africa and other regions, and the continued War on Drugs in Central and South America, a need for effective in-shore combat and deployment capability was required.  In response, the Navy called for the development of the LCS concept.  Key characteristics called for and developed include a small crew requirement, strong littoral capability, modular/customizable mission profiles, the ability to deployed manned and un-manned aircraft  and strong capabilities to deploy combat ready ground forces around the world in potentially hostile environments.

 

With the ability to engage in anti-mine, anti-submarine, surface warfare, and humanitarian missions, the USS Freedom and Independence incorporate essential characteristics such as stealthy hulls and reduced radar cross sections to limit observability  and maximize survivability, high speed and excellent maneuverability (with the Independence adopting a trimaran hull design.)  While cost and production issues delayed initial deployment, and have caused multiple alterations to the contract and production awards, the development and deployment of these ships have provided valuable lessons to the defense sector and government contracting officials, shaping the future for upcoming programs.  In the same way, these ships will pave the way for the development of new strategies and tactics for the US Navy and its allies, allowing a flexible and dynamic approach to respond to the threats and issues of the 21st Century and beyond.

 

M3 Technology is a proud partner in the development, construction and deployment of the Littoral Combat Ship and its various programs and vessels.  Over the life of the contract, M3 Technology has worked to provide support to various members of the contracting consortium headed by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, supplying hardware, electronics components and other equipment to facilitate manufacture of the ships destined to serve our sailors and troops around the world.