The future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) concluded its acceptance trial August 25 after completing a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations on the Great Lakes
for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.
The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, which is planned for this fall. During the trial, the Navy conducted
comprehensive tests of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) intended to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship handling and auxiliary systems. While underway, the ship successfully completed a full-power run along with all associated steering and maneuvering events (quick reversals and quick ahead) to demonstrate the ship's maneuverability. The ship also conducted the anchor demonstration and successful surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises.
"Of particular note was completion of a full-power demonstration utilizing 100 percent of available propulsion power. This mode of operation was previously restricted due to a design issue which is now resolved," said LCS Program Manager Capt. Michael Taylor. "Little Rock's performance during her acceptance trial is a testament to the hard work of the Marinette workforce. I look forward to placing the ship in the capable hands of her crew early this fall."
Following delivery and commissioning in Buffalo, N.Y., LCS 9 will sail to Florida
to be homeported in Mayport with sister ships USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7).
Several more Freedom variants are under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wisc. Christened in January 2016, Sioux City (LCS 11) is currently conducting system testing in preparation for trials in 2017. The future USS Wichita (LCS 13) is preparing for Builder's Trials in 2018. Meanwhile, Billings (LCS 15) was christened in July and sister ship Indianapolis (LCS 17) will be christened in fall of 2017. Additional ships in the production phase include St. Louis (LCS 19), Minneapolis St. Paul (LCS 21), with Cooperstown (LCS 23) and Marinette (LCS 25) in the preproduction phases.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Each LCS will be outfitted with a mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated ship crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.